Two Unique Ways To Prevent Pincher Nails From Becoming Ingrown Toenails

28 October 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Ingrown toenails form for a variety of reasons, but a common source for the problem is pincher nails. These nails are named so because they have an extreme curve that makes them look like they're pinched together and a tendency to push into the skin as they grow out. While it may seem like ingrown toenails are an inevitability with pincher nails, here are two things you can do to reduce your risk of getting them.

Thin the Nail

While keeping the nail trimmed short is one way you can prevent pincher nails from turning into ingrown toenails, another effective treatment is to keep the nail thin. Researchers speculate that pincher nails form because of an imbalance in the mechanical forces that act upon nails that help maintain their normal shape. When there isn't enough upward force on the nail, it succumbs to normal gravitational forces and grows downward at a severe angle.

Based on an experiment with one patient, however, researchers found thinning pincher nails helps correct the mechanical imbalance and prevents them from curving at an unhealthy angle. Eight weeks after thinning the nail, the patient reported experiencing less pain, and the toenail's curve had been reduced from 85.7 percent to 54.2 percent.

Toenails can be thinned using a nail grinder. Although you can perform this procedure yourself or go to a nail salon and have a nail tech do it for you, it's best to have it done by a podiatrist. If the nail is thinned too much, it can cause other problems, such as increased susceptibility to infection. A podiatrist will know how much of the nail can be safely removed to alleviate your pincher nail problem without making things worse.

Adjust the Way You Walk

In another study, researchers found patients' gaits contributed to the formation of pincher nails. Using a pressure measuring tool, researchers found people with the deformed nails put less pressure on the affected toes. This decreased pressure may have contributed to the lack of upward mechanical forces on the nail that helps keep it straight, resulting in a severely curved formation.

In this instance, it may be a good idea to have a medical professional take a look at the way you're walking and help you make corrections if something is off. In addition to helping you solve your pincher nail problem, adjusting your gait may also correct other issues you may have experienced with your feet and ankles.

For more tips on dealing with pincher names or help treating ingrown toenails, contact a podiatrist like Paul Greenberg.