The Importance of Proper Footwear in Preventing Ingrown Toenails - Paul Miller Podiatry
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The Importance of Proper Footwear in Preventing Ingrown Toenails

ingrown toenail image

The Importance of Proper Footwear in Preventing Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be painful and bothersome, but did you know that your choice of footwear plays a crucial role in preventing them? Wearing the right shoes can help alleviate pressure on your toenails and reduce the risk of ingrown toenails. In this article, we’ll explore why proper footwear is essential for maintaining healthy feet and preventing ingrown toenails.

If you are having issues with your feet, whether its an ingrown toenail or backpain then get in touch with Paul Miller Podiatry. We are based in Strood and Sidcup, please get in touch here.  If you are in pain when you walk it might be worth doing a GAIT analysis, this looks at the way you walk to determine where the issues lies.

Why Proper Footwear Matters:

  1. Proper Fit: Ill-fitting shoes can increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails by putting pressure on the toes. Shoes that are too tight or narrow can compress the toes, causing the nails to grow into the surrounding skin. Opt for shoes that provide ample room for your toes to wiggle without feeling cramped. You can read more about how proper footwear can prevent an ingrown toenail from this blog post. 
  2. Toe Box Width: Look for shoes with a wide toe box to accommodate the natural shape of your feet. Narrow or pointed shoes can force the toes into an unnatural position, leading to ingrown toenails over time. A wider toe box allows your toes to spread out comfortably, reducing the risk of nail impaction.
  3. Avoid High Heels: High heels can alter the distribution of weight on your feet, increasing pressure on the toes and toenails. Opt for shoes with a lower heel or flat shoes to minimize stress on the toes and promote better alignment. If you must wear heels, choose ones with a wider base and lower height to reduce pressure on the front of the foot.

Choosing the Right Shoes:

  1. Comfort: Prioritize comfort when selecting footwear. Choose shoes made from breathable materials with cushioned insoles to provide support and reduce friction. Avoid shoes with seams or rough edges that can rub against the toenails and cause irritation.
  2. Activity-Specific Shoes: Wear shoes appropriate for the activity you’re engaging in. Different activities require different levels of support and protection for your feet. Invest in quality athletic shoes for exercise and supportive shoes with good arch support for daily wear.
  3. Regular Footwear Assessment: Periodically assess your footwear to ensure it still fits properly and provides adequate support. Replace worn-out shoes that no longer offer proper cushioning or have become too tight. Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pressure points that may indicate the need for a different shoe style or size.

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Causes and Risk Factors of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and potential infection. Several factors can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails, including:

  1. Improper Nail Trimming: Cutting toenails too short or rounding them off at the edges can encourage the nail to grow into the skin instead of over it. It’s essential to trim toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short to prevent ingrown toenails. This blot post explains how exactly you should cut your toenail to prevent an ingrown toenail, read it here. 
  2. Tight or Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can exert pressure on the toes, forcing the nails to grow abnormally and potentially become ingrown. High heels, pointy-toed shoes, and ill-fitting footwear increase the risk of toenail problems.
  3. Toe Trauma: Injury to the toe, such as stubbing it or dropping something heavy on it, can damage the nail bed and increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails. Trauma to the toe can alter the way the nail grows, causing it to curve inward instead of growing straight.
  4. Genetics: Some individuals may inherit a predisposition to ingrown toenails due to the shape and structure of their toenails or the way their toes are positioned. Genetics can influence the curvature of the nails and make them more prone to becoming ingrown.
  5. Foot Structure: Certain foot shapes and structures, such as having unusually curved or wide toenails, can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. Conditions like bunions or hammertoes can also contribute to toenail problems by affecting the alignment of the toes and toenails.
  6. Poor Foot Hygiene: Neglecting proper foot care, such as not keeping the feet clean and dry or failing to wear clean socks, can create an environment conducive to ingrown toenails. Moisture, bacteria, and fungi can accumulate around the toenails, increasing the risk of infection and inflammation.
  7. Underlying Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and fungal infections, can compromise foot health and make individuals more susceptible to ingrown toenails. These conditions can affect circulation, nerve function, and the body’s ability to fight infections, increasing the risk of complications from ingrown toenails.

Understanding the causes and risk factors associated with ingrown toenails is essential for prevention and management. By addressing modifiable risk factors, such as footwear choices and nail care habits, individuals can reduce their risk of developing ingrown toenails and maintain optimal foot health.

Paul Miller Podiatry in Strood, Kent and Sidcup | Ingrown Toenails

Proper footwear is essential for maintaining healthy feet and preventing ingrown toenails. By choosing shoes that fit well, have a wide toe box, and provide adequate support, you can reduce the risk of toenail problems and enjoy greater comfort and mobility. Remember to prioritise comfort and function over fashion when selecting footwear, and don’t hesitate to consult with a podiatrist if you experience persistent foot pain or nail issues despite wearing appropriate shoes.

Get in touch with Paul Miller Podiatry today if you need help with your feet in anyway!

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