Health Tip: Ingrown Toenails

Cutting nails properly can prevent the condition

(HealthDayNews) -- When you trim your toenails too short and taper the corners, your toenail can grow into the skin. This is called an ingrown toenail, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short also can lead to this painful condition, which is most common in big toes.

When you first have an ingrown toenail, it may be hard, swollen and tender. Later, it may turn red, and become very sore and infected.

To treat an infected ingrown toenail, soak your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day. Gently lift the edge of the ingrown toenail and insert some cotton or waxed dental floss between the nail and your skin. Change this packing every day. If your infection is severe, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If you are in a lot of pain or the infection returns, your doctor may remove part or all of the affected nail.

You can lower your risk of developing an ingrown toenail by trimming your nails straight across with no rounded corners. The length of your toenail should extend past your skin, and the top of each nail should form a straight line across, level with the top of your toe.

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