If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Wear It
Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Clinic
Though shoes can cause all sorts of problems for feet, ingrown toenails are the most common (followed by arch issues, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, and bunions). Many people choose style over comfort, women especially, and this can have some pretty painful consequences if the wrong kind of shoes are worn consistently over time.
Did you know?
Barefoot cultures have less issues with their feet than shoe-wearing cultures.
“Perhaps the most conclusive study was the one that compared foot forms among the non-shoe and the shoe-wearing Chinese population in Hong Kong. The incidence of hallux valgus, hallux rigidus, incurved fifth toe, hammertoe, and a host of other foot and toe deformities was much higher in the shoe-wearing population. The study concluded that the foot in its natural unrestricted form is mobile and flexible and free of the structural problems so often encountered in the shoe-wearing population. These observations lead one to conclude that shoes are not necessary for normal foot development. A normal foot does not need shoe support. In contrast, heavy shoes, unless prescribed for a specific problem, do more harm than good.”
How Shoes Cause Ingrown Toenails
When you wear shoes that crowd the toes, such as pointy heels or shoes that are too tight or not long enough, pressure is put on the toes. This pressure, especially on a regular or consistent basis, can lead to the toenail growing into the soft skin on the sides of the toe.
How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails Caused by Shoes
The best types of shoes for your feet are light athletic shoes. They offer good support, aren’t so heavy that they cause damage, and allow the feet to breathe.
Another great way to keep from damaging your feet with shoes is to go barefoot as often as possible. Though this can be a bit difficult if you’re outside of your home most of the time, you can still choose to be barefoot while at home relaxing after work or doing chores. It not only allows your feet to be flexible and comfortable, but it also allows them to breathe, which can help prevent athlete’s foot.
Home Treatment Tips for Ingrown Toenails
If you have an ingrown toenail that isn’t infected but is a little tender, there are several things you can do to prevent it from getting worse.
1. Soak Your Feet.
Soaking your feet (or your toe in this case) with a mixture of warm water and Epsom salt can relieve inflammation and help your toenail grow out more naturally. This is an ongoing process that you would have to do nightly for the best results. Domeboro Astringent Solution in place of Epsom salts works, too, as an anti-inflammatory.
2. Trim Nails Properly.
There’s a detailed description of proper nail care in one of our previous blog articles
3. Use Cotton.
Though this isn’t always the best way to do it, especially if the toenail has already broken the skin and begun getting infected, you can try it if your ingrown toenail isn’t too bad yet.
a. Soften the nail and relieve pain by soaking your feet.
b. Disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol.
c. Use a small piece of cotton to wedge between your toenail and the skin.
d. Leave there overnight.
e. If irritation or inflammation continues, repeat.
f. If irritation continues after several days, see a podiatrist.
4. Use Ointment.
If all else fails, put some Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment on the ingrown toenail.
5. Above All, Don’t Play Surgeon!
You could cause an infection in your toe and make things worse.
If problems persist or your toe becomes infected, it might be time to see a Milwaukee WI podiatrist. If that’s the case or if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 414.257.0676. Here at Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists, we are at your service!