It may be hard to believe that something as small as a toenail could cause such excruciating pain. However, at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we know that an ingrown toenail ranks near the top of the most painful podiatric conditions our Macomb County patients bring us for treatment. Below are some helpful tips on caring for and preventing ingrown toenails.

Do: make an appointment at our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140, and Warren (586) 756-3338 offices as soon as you feel that a nail is growing into your skin. Ingrown nails will quickly get worse if left untreated.

Don’t: attempt to cut the nail out of the skin. It can result in a serious injury and even infection.

Do: check and care for toenails regularly. Make sure you cut toenails straight across and don’t create rounded edges with the nail file. It encourages nails to grow downward and back into the skin. Avoid cutting nails too short.

Do: try soaking an ingrown toenail in warm water with Epsom salt a few times during the day. After about 20 minutes, dry your feet and gently try to massage the nail out of the nail bed.

Don’t: wear tight shoes in the toe box and force toes to press up against one another. Many patients wear shoes that are too tight or small for their feet. Long hours spent in cramped toe quarters can encourage ingrown nails to develop.

Don’t: fall for any superstitions and try to prevent an ingrown nail. Things like cutting a notch in the nail or sticking a piece of cotton between the nail and nail bed will not work and may cause significant harm to your foot.

Don’t: let the fear of pain stop you from coming in for treatment for your ingrown toenail. Our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. McKenna Green, will gently numb the area the toenail is ingrown before gently removing the nail from the skin.

Do: talk to the doctor if you have had multiple ingrown toenails, particularly those in the same nail. In some cases, a minor surgical procedure (done in the doctor’s office) can help remove the offending nail and prevent it from regrowing.