With the colder weather rushing in, including here in WA, it’s time to discuss another common foot issue that develops in fall and winter: Ingrown toenails. In today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, shares information regarding what causes them and how to avoid them.
Why the Colder Weather Worsens Ingrown Toenails
In most cases, our personal actions worsen our toenails in the colder months. During fall and winter, many people wear warmer and thicker, or even multi-layered, socks, which can significantly decrease the amount of space at the front of our footwear. It restricts our toes and pushes our nails and skin into one another, making it easier for the toenail to penetrate the skin.
Frequently wearing enclosed shoes, especially narrow or tight, can produce the same result. As snug-fitting shoes are a common characteristic of many of our favorite cold-weather sports like snowboarding, soccer, and skiing, we are more susceptible to redness, swelling, and pain – and in some cases – infection.
Activities during which you quickly stop and start as you push off the ground or repeatedly kick the ball, like in soccer, can force into the ingrown nail and worsen it, causing your symptoms to spring up.
Taking Proper Care of Your Ingrown Nails
To properly care for your ingrown nails during the colder months, particularly when you are trying to stop them from coming back, we recommend the following.
- Keep in mind that in addition to length sizing, shoes have width sizing. Choose shoes with a wider toe box to accommodate thicker socks without pushing your toenails and the skin around them into one another.
- Keep your nails trimmed and cut them straight across using the proper tools. The shorter the toenail, the more space there will be in the shoe, and the less the chance there will be of bothering the toenails.
- Keep your feet clean and clear up any build-up from the sides of your toenails. Dirty feet can boost the build-up of bacteria and other germs that can aggravate the nails and cause an infection if an ingrown toenail occurs.
- Air out your toes. When you’re at home, give your toes some space and air. This will relieve some of the pressure and discourage any odor or damaging skin breakdown, which can cause damage that will cause you exposure to infection.
- Get your ingrown toenail treated promptly by an experienced podiatrist; while it’s still a minor ache and not a sharp pain will help you have the least pain.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to recurrent ingrown toenails once and for all, trust your nail and foot care to Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.