You Could Be Cutting Your Toenails the Wrong Way

What Can Cause an Ingrown Toenail?
It can be a result of wearing socks and shoes that are too tight and short or it can come from trauma, such as stubbing your toe or having an object fall on your foot, says the ACFAS. For some people, the tendency for ingrown nails is an inherited trait. The most common cause, however, comes from improper trimming, which was definitely my case.

So What’s the Right Way to Cut Your Toenails?
“The correct way to trim your nails is to cut them straight across with no curvature,” says Ebonie Vincent, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon at Orange County Podiatry in Orange and Long Beach, Calif. You can see an image here for the right shape they should be.

The ACFAS also says you shouldn’t cut your nails too short. One way you can make sure is that you should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.

If You’re Already Suffering From an Ingrown Toenail, What Should You Do?
You can try soaking the toe in warm (room temperature) water with Epsom salts, says Michael Coyer, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon who also works at Orange County Podiatry.

This may soften the skin surrounding the toenail and help to reduce inflammation and pain. It’s important for the water to not be too hot to prevent damage to the surrounding tissues, Coyer says.

You should also wear comfortable shoes with sufficient room for your toes. If you can, consider wearing sandals until the condition clears up, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

If the toe is inflamed and red, you’ll need to see a podiatrist, who might prescribe an antibiotic and, in some cases, remove the ingrown nail. What you should not do is attempt to remove the nail at home yourself. If you continue to cut it, you might worsen its condition.