avoid ingrown toenailsWhen was the last time you actively thought about taking care of your hands and feet? These body parts often get left at the wayside when it comes to active prevention against health problems, even though they are just as important.

Depending on the season, your feet may be overly exposed to the elements or cramped up in shoes and warm socks. If you don’t pay careful attention, these situations can lead to ingrown toenails, which are both painful and annoying. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can be doing to take care of your feet so you avoid ingrown toenails from showing up.

Practice Good Foot Hygiene

Most people think that standing in the shower in the morning is enough to clean their feet. Some even go as far as briefly scrubbing their feet with soap while in the shower. Unfortunately, this just isn’t enough for a comprehensive foot hygiene routine. In fact, the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends that you soak your feet on a regular basis in warm, soapy water, especially if you’re trying to prevent ingrown toenails. You should also use a pumice stone to remove calluses after soaking. Good foot hygiene also means regularly trimming your toenails and cuticles. You may want to go as far as regular moisturizing around the nails for greater prevention of ingrown toenails.

Properly Trim Your Toenails

Trimming your toenails is a crucial part of good foot hygiene. If you don’t trim your toenails properly, you may be encouraging the formation of ingrown toenails. The proper way to trim your toenails involves two parts: trim orientation and trim length. Be sure you trim your toenails straight, instead of rounded. Rounding the corners of your toenails is one of the first causes of ingrown toenails. You should also make sure you aren’t trimming your nails too short. Rounded nails that are trimmed too short create the perfect environment for ingrown toenails.]

If you’re unsure of how to trim your toenails, or you have poor blood flow to your toes, you may want to see a podiatrist for a trimming.

Wear Shoes and Socks That Fit Well

The environment in which your feet reside can either greatly help your feet and nails or hurt them. When you buy shoes, make sure they fit properly. Shoes that are too tight in the toe box can create unnecessary pressure on your toes, which encourages ingrown nails to form. The same goes for socks. Many people aren’t aware that socks have sizes and often buy them too small, which leads to an even more suffocating environment for your toes.

You should also take the time to let your feet breathe properly, especially after extended periods of time in socks and shoes.

Check Your Feet Regularly

We don’t often think to check our feet in the same way that we check our bodies for signs of disease or complications, but it’s just as important. Once a week, take some time to look at your feet and nails to be sure there aren’t any worrisome developments. If you do notice something, don’t hesitate to see a podiatrist, who can help you take care of your ingrown toenails and other foot problems. We have eight convenient locations (Bountiful, Downtown Salt Lake City, Sugarhouse, West Jordan, Nephi, Park City, Heber City, and Provo) to treat you and all your family’s needs.