Ingrown Toenails: The Dos and Don’ts


It’s not fun to take your shoes off after a long day when your toe – most often your big toe – is hurting. If the skin bordering your nail bed is irritated, swollen, red, and it’s painful to the touch, you have an ingrown toenail. Today, Dr. Joel Segalman and Dr. Stephen Lazaroff at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC are sharing some of the dos and don’ts regarding this condition. 

Causes and Culprits of Ingrown Toenails

Improperly-fitting shoes, damage to the toenail bed, poor foot hygiene, and incorrect trimming can all cause ingrown toenails. And while ingrown toenails can affect people of all ages, some people are more susceptible to getting them than others.  

People who have diabetes or nerve damage should be particularly cautious because insufficient blood flow can slow down healing. The condition can also be genetic. 

The Dos And Don’ts of Ingrown Toenails: 

DON’T do your own bathroom surgery. Treating the aggravated skin at home with cotton balls, sharp objects, or by lifting the nail bed using dental floss could send you to your podiatrist’s office.  

DO buy sharp toenail clippers. The difference between toenail and fingernail clippers may seem insignificant, but toenail clipper blades are designed to cut straight across your nail to decrease the likelihood of it puncturing the bordering skin.  

DON’T cut your toenails too short. Trimming your toenails too short elevates the risk of the nail growing into the exposed area. Your podiatrist can help cut toenails that become tough to trim, which often occurs as we age, and our toenails thicken and become more disposed to curling. 

DO determine the level of soreness to determine if you have an infection. If your toe becomes sore and swollen, and you notice discharge or pus, seek immediate medical attention from your podiatrist. You may have a severe infection that needs to be treated quickly with oral antibiotics.  

DO wear comfortable footwear and keep your feet dry. If you wear shoes that pinch your toes, your toenails are more apt to pierce the adjacent skin. Athletes, teens, and those who are disposed to extreme perspiration should take safeguards, so they don’t unknowingly create an environment for fungal infections and bacteria.

When it comes to an ingrown toenail, a few simple steps can make a big difference. If you think you may have one, or you have any other foot problems, contact the offices of  Dr. Joel Segalman and Dr. Stephen Lazaroff at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC to schedule an appointment. You can call our Waterbury office at (203) 755-0489 or our Newtown location at (203) 270-6724.