There is often a gaping chasm between what “should be” and what “is.” As humans, we should all respect one another and accept our innate differences for what they are. The reality is a bit different. Another smaller—yet potentially painful—example is ingrown toenails. Nails are not supposed to grow into the skin that surrounds them, but sometimes they do.
Nails that grow into the surrounding skin might not seem like a huge concern, but it makes your toe hurt and, more importantly, puts you at an increased risk of serious complications if you have diabetes or another condition that negatively affects your circulation. When your ability to fight off infection is impaired, anything that could contribute to the problem needs to be taken quite seriously.
Even those who aren’t diabetic should still take the appropriate measures to prevent nails from growing into the skin. The most common causes of this situation are improper trimming practices and shoes that do not fit correctly. We also treat cases that originated from injury—typically a heavy item falling onto the toe—or simply an inherent nail structure that is curved in an unusual fashion.
Prevention measures that can be quite effective include:
- Trimming nails correctly. Keep each nail even with the tip of the toe and clip them in a straight line. Rounding nails to match the shape of your toe increases the likelihood of toenails becoming ingrown.
- Wearing properly-fitting footwear. Always ensure that you have ample space in the front of your shoes. Your toes should be able to wiggle freely. If they can’t, find a different pair.
- Using protective footwear. You move heavy items at work? Then be sure to wear steel-toed shoes or other types of footwear that will protect your feet from injury.
- Asking for help. When moving a heavy object at home—furniture, boxes of books—ask a friend or loved one to help. This reduces the risk of injury from physical trauma.
Keep in mind that you should check your feet on a daily basis if you live with diabetes. Stay alert for the development of ingrown nails so they can be treated at the earliest possible stage. Contact Palm Beach Podiatry at any of our three Florida locations—Boynton Beach, Loxahatchee, Fort Pierce—via our online form and schedule your appointment today.