Ingrown toenails can be caused by a number of things, for example, wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights, having sweaty feet, or the natural shape of your nail make it more likely for your roils to press into the skin surround the nail.
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Badly cut toenails can also lead to an ingrown toenail, so before it becomes infected, it’s important you cut your toenails a certain way.
The NHS advises you cut your toenails straight across to stop them digging into the surrounding skin.
Other ways you can stop an ingrown toenail becoming infected is to keep your feet clean by washing the regularly with soap and water, changing your socks regularly, and wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly.
Gently pushing the skin away from the nail using a cotton bud can also help, but this may be easier after using a small amount of olive oil to soften the skin.
The health body says surgery may be recommended if your toenail doesn’t improve.
If this is the case, then depending on the severity of symptoms, you may have to undergo partial nail avulsion – removing part of your toenail – or total nail avulsion – removing your whole toenail.
To prevent ingrown toenails happening you should wash your feet every day, dry them thoroughly and use foot moisture.
You can also use a foot file or pumice stone to remove hard or dead skin.
If you experience any problems with your feet you should visit a GP or podiatrist as soon as possible.
Another foot problem many people experience is a fungal nail infection.
Fungal nail infections usual start at the edge of the nail but often spread to the middle. The nail can become discoloured and lift off the nail bed, or it can become brittle and pieces can break off.
Not only can people be unhappy with the appearance of a fungal nail infection, they can also cause pain and swelling in the skin around the nail.
They usually develop when your feet are constantly warm and damp – wearing trainers for a long time and having hot, sweaty feet is usually the cause.
If the look of your nail begins to bother you, then your first port of call should be to speak to a pharmacist, advises the NHS.
They may suggest you try anti fungal nail cream, which can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and doesn’t always work, or nail softening cream, which is used for two weeks to soften the nail so the infection can be scraped off.
If your fungal nail infection is severe and treatment hasn’t worked, or it’s spread to other nails, then you should make an appointment to see your GP.
Your GP can then prescribe anti fungal tablets which you’ll need to take or up to six months.
To prevent a fungal nail infection from happening in the first place, the health body suggests five things to do.
The first is to treat athlete’s foot as soon as possible to avoid it spreading to nails.
Secondly keep your feet clean and dry.
Thirdly wear clean socks every day.
Fourthly wear flip flops in showers at the gym or pool.
And finally make sure to throw out old shoes.
Another problem caused by sweaty feet and wearing the same shoes every day is smelly feet, medically known as bromodosis. So how can you get rid of smelly feet?