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Whether you wear high heels as a way to assert yourself as equal in a world dominated by taller men and women or simply enjoy the fashion statement, you may at some point find yourself dealing with one or more painful ingrown toenails. Not only can this condition cause discomfort while standing or walking, in severe cases it can lead to stubborn infections in the delicate skin around your toenails. Those with a fondness for uncomfortable-looking shoes may be concerned their high heel days are over after developing several ingrown toenails over a fairly brief period of time. Read on to learn more about how you can quickly treat an ingrown toenail, as well as what you can do to prevent this condition from recurring without having to throw out your favorite shoes.
How can you quickly treat an ingrown toenail?
Your first step should be to soak the offending foot in warm water. Adding some epsom salts to this water can help kill any bacteria that may be present, and should help relieve some of the pain or discomfort you're feeling. Before attempting to treat your ingrown toenail using home remedies, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help make this process less painful.
If the toenail has just started to grow into the surrounding skin, it's possible you'll be able to manipulate the embedded portion of nail away from your toe once your foot has been soaking for a bit. Use a piece of dental floss or a cotton swab to pull up the corner of the toenail, away from your skin. If the nail is sufficiently pliable, you may be able to insert a small puff of cotton from the swab between your nail and the skin to avoid further ingrowth.
For more stubborn ingrown nails that are causing you significant pain or interfering with your daily life, you may need some professional intervention. During an office visit, a podiatrist, like the ones at Lincoln Park Podiatry, should be able to inject your toe with some numbing agent and carefully lift or cut away the ingrown portion of your toenail.
Will you need to change your footwear to avoid future problems?
For individuals who cut their toenails straight across (rather than at an angle) in an effort to avoid ingrown toenails, choice of footwear may be the primary factor behind the problems you're experiencing. However, this doesn't mean you'll need to give up high heels forever.
When shoe shopping, you'll want to pay attention to where your weight falls. Heels that are very high without much arch support tend to thrust your body's center of gravity forward, forcing you to place most of your weight on the balls of your feet. This pressure can force your toes into the very fronts of your shoes, compressing your toenails and disturbing growth patterns. Selecting a stacked heel or platform heel that helps keep your foot at a proper angle can prevent your toes from being "smashed" into a narrow toe box. By that same token, if the majority of your shoes have narrow, pointed toes, you may want to look into rounded or squared-off styles that can give your toes more room.Share