Have you spent most of your winter indoors? Well, so have your toes! During the coldest months of the year, our poor toes get stuck in our shoes day in and day out. Especially if you need to double up on socks, this can create an environment inside your shoes that is perfect for developing ingrown toenails. You are most susceptible to developing ingrown toenails when one or more toes are compressed inside your shoe.
Whether it’s due to wearing an extra layer or thicker pair of socks, or if your shoes don’t quite fit right and your toes are squeezed together, the nail bed of your toenails can start to grow and press inward, causing irritation, inflammation, and potentially puncturing your skin. Our feet are very sweaty, especially during the cold months when they’re confined to compressed, warm shoes with very little ventilation. This can breed bacteria that, once your nail has punctured your skin, can lead to infection!
The symptoms of infection include tenderness, the area being warm to touch, and any blood or pus coming from the affected area. If you notice any one or a combination of these symptoms, be sure to reach out to your podiatrist right away. However, some folks are lucky enough to catch their ingrown toenail before it becomes punctured and infected. It can be treated in the comfort of your home using a few quick tricks:
- Soak the affected foot in warm water and Epsom salts.
- Once the nail is softened, gently lift the nail from where it was ingrown.
- If it is too painful, or if you notice any pus or blood, stop immediately!
- Dry your foot thoroughly.
- Wear less restrictive footwear, especially while symptoms persist.
If your ingrown toenail is too painful to touch, is showing any sign of infection, or is not healing on its own, don’t hesitate — give your trusted podiatrist a call. Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.