Treatment Options for Curved Toenails
Toenails serve a purpose, which is to protect toes. They’re made from keratin, which is the same protein that makes up skin, hair and fingernails. The keratin makes them tough and resilient to daily wear and tear. But sometimes, due to various causes, our nails can experience some painful conditions. One of these is having curved toenails.
Having curved toenails bring a lot of pain, accompanied by swelling and redness. There is also a high possibility of infections, if it is left untreated. People who have this condition may notice that the skin becomes hard at first, followed by the formation of pus or fluid in the adjoining area.
What is it?
A curved toenail, also called as pincer nail, is a condition where the sides of the toe nail curve inwards causing it to dig into the skin surrounding it. This results in what is known as an “ingrown toenail”, because its growth is directed towards the skin rather than outside in a straight line, effectively embedding itself inside it.
You may set the stage for an ingrown toenail if you trim your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes. When you trim your toenails, you may taper the corners so that the nail curves with the shape of your toe. However, this technique may encourage your toenail to grow into the skin of your toe. The sides of the nail curl down and dig into your skin. It could also happen if you wear shoes that are too tight or too short.
What causes it?
This condition can occur in both men and women. According to the National Health Services, curved toenails may be more common in people with sweaty feet, such as teenagers. Older people may also be at higher risk because toenails thicken with age.
The main factors which can cause this condition include:
This is one of the most common reasons of having curved toenail. It happens if the toe has suffered some kind of damage, such as the toe collided head on with a blunt object. This can effectively change the overall course of nail growth, which causes it to grow in an unfavorable direction.
This is also one of the reasons why the big toe is the most likely candidate for inner growth, owing to the fact that it is the first one to make impact in such a situation and therefore absorbs nearly all of the shock.
It also doesn’t necessarily have to be a one-time incident. People who engage in lot of athletic activities which put a lot of pressure on the toe end of their feet may also experience this.
Your shoes typically compensate for the lack of space by getting scrunched close together, when wearing shoes that are smaller than the appropriate size. You will notice your nails naturally start to curve inwards because of the constant pressure on them, if you wear smaller shoes for a long enough time.
It is recommended to buy properly sized shoes. Don’t rely on predetermined sizes or intuitive guesswork. You must be especially careful when it comes to buying shoes for your kids as it can be difficult to keep up with their growth spurts.
In some cases, the size of the toe is not large enough to accommodate the size of the nail, which causes the nail to curve uncharacteristically, which often leads to in-growth toenails.
This is by far the most common reason for an ingrown toenail. Most people cut their nails by following the curve of this toe. However, this technique often encourages the edge of the nail to curve and dig into the skin. It is advised that you cut in straight lines to avoid potential in-growth.
Sweaty feet that are not regularly cleaned and dried are most likely to develop this condition. It is advised that you thoroughly wash your feet every day and trim your nails every few weeks.
Some people are genetically predisposed to have nails that gravitate inwards. These people must be extra cautious with their care.
Researches show that a diet deficient in iron and zinc tends to cause nails to curve upwards which makes them more prone to injury.
Using your feet extensively during athletic activities can make you especially prone to getting curved toenails. Activities in which you repeatedly kick an object or put pressure on your feet for long periods of time can also cause toenail damage and increase your risk of ingrown toenails. These activities include:
What are the symptoms?
Curved toenails can be painful, and they usually worsen in stages:
Early-stage symptoms include:
- Skin next to the nail becomes tender, swollen or hard
- Pain when pressure is placed on the toe
- Fluid building up around the toe
If your toe becomes infected, symptoms include:
- Red, swollen skin
- Oozing pus
- Overgrowth of skin around the toe
It is important to prevent having curved toenails rather than looking up for things on how to treat it. Here are some of the tips in order to prevent having curved toenails.
- Move around carefully to avoid toenail trauma
- Trim your toenails straight across, no shorter than the tip of your toe
- If your job increases your risk of toenail injury, wear protective footgear
Treatment options for curved toenails
It’s important to treat ingrown toenails as soon as they occur, to prevent infection. Mild cases may require minor treatment with some home remedies, while some serious cases may need surgical intervention.
There are lots of home remedies you can try to treat curved toenails.
- Soak in warm, soapy water
- Soak in apple cider vinegar
- Pack the area with dental floss or cotton
- Apply antibiotic ointment
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Use a toe protector
- Try a toe brace
- See doctor about oral antibiotics
- Consider nail removal
According to the NHS, partial nail removal is 98 percent effective for preventing future ingrown toenails. There are different types of surgical treatments for ingrown toenails. Partial nail removal only involves removing the piece of nail which is digging into your skin. Your doctor numbs your toe and then narrows the toenail.
Here are some products available in the market today which could help treat your curved toenails.
Where to Buy
This clipper is designed for thick and brittle toenails caused by nail fungal infection, damage or ageing. This is the most recommended by professional podiatrists, since this product is very sharp and durable and also comes with an ergonomic design. Plus it is also made of surgical grade stainless steel built-in spring which comes with a plastic safety cover and metal custom storage box to keep it safe and clean.
This product was designed to easily clip nails, making it the best toenail clippers for ingrown toenails, thick nails and they can assist in toenail fungus treatment as needed. This nippit handle allows optimum grip flexibly because they know that good tools should fit as many hands as possible. Each blade is finished by hand and is the last step in the 14 part manufacturing process which ensures the blades meet cleanly and require the least effort possible to get a great clip.
This is a very effective tool, this clipper tackles the driest, toughest toenails with ease and precision without tearing or ruining your nails. Plus, it includes a protective cap to help produce the ultra-sharp blade when not in use, and long handles which is an ergonomic design for ease of use.
This is made of high-quality stainless steel, and is a great tool for cutting thick nails because the blade is able to open wider than 1 inch. Also, the blade of this nipper is very sharp and they have a pointy tip to help fix ingrown toenails. And this nipper comes with a 2 styles safety tips cover and user guide is included in the package.
This is perfect for those with less flexibility limited dexterity or strength, diabetes, arthritis, other ailments and of course for everyday use. This is lightweight and easy to store away, and its swivel action will put an end to awkward twisting helping you find a comfortable angle to trim your nails.
This product gives a professional looking manicure or pedicure, because of its high-quality stainless steel. Plus, it is very easy to use and it looks modern and stylish, feel sturdy and lightweight, and will not slip out of your hand due to the matte, brush steel finish.
Minor foot problems like curved toenails may cause serious complications in some people. Ingrown toenails may cause severe pain and infection which could spread to the bone, if left untreated.