Ingrown toenails can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort. During the summer months, you can wear sandals or go barefooted to alleviate some of the discomfort. However, those options aren't available to you during the winter months. Unfortunately, that means that your ingrown toenails can get considerably worse when the weather is cold. If you're bothered by ingrown toenails, here are four steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort this winter.
Keep Your Feet Clean
If you deal with ingrown toenails, it's important that you keep your feet clean, especially your toes. Dirty feet can encourage germs and bacteria growth, which can lead to foot and toe infections. To avoid the added pain of an infection, keep your feet clean all winter long. It's also a good idea to soak your feet in warm water at least once a day. The warm water will help keep your toenails soft, which will encourage proper growth.
Choose the Right Shoes
During the winter, you need to wear shoes. However, if you deal with ingrown toenails, you need to choose the right shoes for the winter. Don't choose shoes that are too small or that have a narrow toe box. You want to give your toes plenty of room to stretch out. Tight shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box encourages the development of ingrown toenails. To make sure you choose the right shoes, always try them on in the store, even if they're the right size. Once you have the shoes on, stretch your toes out and give them a wiggle. If you can stretch your toes out completely, and wiggle them around, you've got the right shoes for your ingrown toenails.
Give Your Toes Some Fresh Air
You can't go outside in your bare feet during the winter, but you can still give your feet some fresh air while the temperatures are low. At least once a day, take your shoes off and give your toes some room to breathe. If you'd like, you can put on a pair of comfy socks or slippers. It's just important that your toes have a few minutes outside of the shoes for several minutes each day.
Don't Try to Remove the Ingrown Nail
If you develop a new ingrown toenail during the winter, don't try to remove it yourself. You could end up making the matter that much worse. Instead, try to place some sterile gauze between the toe and the nail. This will give the nail enough room to grow over the skin, instead of into it. If the area becomes red or inflamed, schedule an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible.
Contact a medical office like Bazzi Podiatry today for more information and assistance.