Foot health plays a major role in determining your overall sense of well-being. After all, if your feet hurt, even small, everyday tasks can become overwhelming. From insufficient arch support to ill-fitting footwear, there are a number of factors that can cause foot pain. Ingrown toenails are an all-too-common ailment that can make walking, running, and even standing downright excruciating. Following are three causes of ingrown toenails along with tips for preventing them.

Shoes That Are Too Tight

Ingrown toenails develop as the toenail starts growing into the skin, as opposed to on top of it. Among the most common causes of this painful issue are tight-fitting shoes. The constant pressure that improperly fitting footwear applies can force the nail down into the soft tissues around it. This is especially problematic for people who routinely wear shoes that are excessively tight at or around the toes. If you have an ingrown toenail or suspect that one may be developing, replace your current shoes with a pair in a larger size. You should also have a shoe store employee measure your feet to avoid this problem in the future. People who are prone to ingrown toenails should avoid shoes with pointed toes, short, rounded toes, and other compact shoe styles. It is also important to avoid tight-fitting socks and other hosiery.

Impact Injuries

There are times when an ingrown toenail is the result of a sudden and unexpected, impact event such as stubbing the toe, dropping a heavy item on the foot, or having the toes stepped on. Unfortunately, events like these are often unavoidable. It’s important to note that toenail injuries can do more than simply increase the likelihood of developing ingrown nails. They can also leave the nail bed vulnerable to aggressive bacterial and fungal infections if the toenail becomes cracked, significantly displaced, or falls off.

One way to prevent toenail injuries is by wearing the appropriate, protective footwear when entering any construction area or other, potentially dangerous environment. Steel-toed boots can absorb the impact of heavy, falling objects so that the toes remain injury-free. Following any significant, injury event, it’s always a good idea to consult with a foot doctor Kissimmee FL residents can rely on. This professional may be able to mitigate the nail damages caused by these events to prevent ongoing problems with ingrown toenails, and to additionally limit the potential for aggressive, fungal, nail infections.

Cutting The Toenails Too Short

Another very common cause of ingrown toenails is excessive clipping. Although it’s important to keep the nails clean and well-groomed, cutting them too short can affect their natural growth pattern. It’s also important to avoid shaping or curving the nails when clipping or filing them. The toenails should always be cut straight across, while ensuring that a small amount of the white portion of the nail remains visible.

The intense pain that’s caused by ingrown toenails is often preventable. Choosing properly fitted footwear and trimming your nails correctly are among the most important efforts that you can make to this end. With these strategies, you can encourage your toenails to grow up and over the skin, rather than directly into the soft tissues that surround them.