Top Tips for Clipping Your Toenails to Prevent an Ingrown Toenail

About 20% of doctor’s visits for foot-related issues involve ingrown toenails. But there’s good news for this common problem: Not only can you typically treat ingrown toenails at home, but you can also do things on your own to prevent them in the first place. 

At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle, with five Colorado locations, our skilled podiatrists specialize in ingrown toenails. Here we want to provide you with information on how to prevent an ingrown toenail and what to do should you develop one. 

In this blog, we focus on how to clip your nails properly, one of the main components of ingrown toenail prevention. 

Guidelines for healthy nail clipping

A toenail has the perfect opportunity to develop into an ingrown toenail if the edge of the nail points down toward your foot instead of out and away from it. 

Once the nail starts to grow downward, the skin around the corner of your toe grows around it. That causes the telltale symptoms of ingrown toenails, including redness, swelling, and pain. 

To prevent the downward trajectory of your toenail, follow these steps when you trim your nails:

If you have diabetes, following these steps is even more important since this condition reduces circulation and increases your risk of infection. 

Wearing ill-fitting or tight shoes can lead to ingrown toenails, so prevention might also include finding shoes that offer a roomy toe box.

Note that if you’re genetically predisposed to ingrown toenails, they may develop despite your prevention efforts. 

How to treat an ingrown toenail

Should you find yourself with an ingrown toenail, it’s time to move from prevention to treatment mode. All ingrown toenails must be treated to mitigate the risk of infection.

At home, you can start by soaking your foot in warm water and keeping it dry and clean. However, if you have diabetes or notice signs of infection, see our team right away for treatment. 

Our treatment methods include placing a piece of gauze under the nail to correct its path if it’s a mild case or cutting away a portion of the nail and the underlying tissue if it’s severe. We provide both oral and topical antibiotics if the nail is infected. 

For ingrown toenail treatment, look no further than Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle. We proudly serve the communities of Wheat Ridge, Thornton, Evergreen, Granby, and Arvada, Colorado. Schedule an appointment online or by calling the office nearest you.

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