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How can I prevent ingrown toenails?

James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
The easiest way to prevent an ingrown toenail is to cut your nails straight across, rather than rounding off the corners (as you would with your fingernails). Use a toenail clipper (which is wider and larger than a fingernail clipper) or, if you use scissors, cut the nail in several short movements. Also, clean under your nails regularly. Wear shoes that provide enough room at the toes, and wear stockings or socks that allow your toes to move freely.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You can prevent ingrown toenails by avoiding wearing shoes that are too small or that pinch your toes (a common culprit of ingrown toenails) and by trimming your nails straight across, rounding the edges of the nails only slightly if at all. Some people, however, are simply born with a tendency to develop ingrown toenails. If you have an ingrown toenail, talk with your doctor about how to treat it before it leads to infection.
To help prevent ingrown toenails:
  • Wear shoes that fit well.
  • Cut toenails straight across the top. Don't cut them too short.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • If you have diabetes, go to the doctor or clinic for foot checkups at least once a year.
If you have trouble cutting your toenails yourself, you may need to go more often. You may also need to see a special foot doctor called a podiatrist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.