PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
To help prevent an ingrown toenail:
- Trim your toenails straight across. Don't curve your nails to match the shape of the front of your toe. If you have your toenails done at a nail salon, be sure to tell your pedicurist to trim your nails straight across. If you have circulation problems in your feet from disorders such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, see a podiatrist regularly to have your nails professionally trimmed if you can't trim them yourself.
- Keep toenails at a moderate length. Trim toenails so they're even with the tips of your toes. If you trim your toenails too short, the pressure from your shoes on your toes' tissue may direct your nails to grow into the tissue.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Shoes that place excessive pressure on your toes or pinch your toes may cause your nails to grow into surrounding tissue. If you have nerve impairment to your feet, you may not be able to sense if your shoes fit too tightly. Take care to buy and wear properly fitted shoes, preferably from a shoe store specializing in fitting shoes for people with foot problems.
- Wear protective footwear. If your work puts you at risk of injuring your toes, buy footwear such as steel-toed shoes, which protect your toes.
- Ingrown toenail. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00154. Accessed Dec. 31, 2010.
- Foot care. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-care.html?print=t. Accessed Jan. 10, 2011.
- Melio FR. Soft tissue problems of the foot. In: Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y. The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6393319&searchStr=nails%2c+ingrown. Accessed Jan. 10, 2011.
- Heidelbaugh JJ, et al. Management of the ingrown toenail. American Family Physician. 2009;79:303.