Preventing Ingrown Toenails in Elderly Relatives

Did you know that elderly people are at a high risk of developing ingrown toenails?  Even though the nail growth rate slows down with age, it’s much harder for seniors to properly care for their feet.  It’s usually due to stiff joints, arthritis, poor eyesight and even forgetfulness.  Family caregivers like you have the opportunity to help your elderly parent with preventing ingrown toenails by assisting them with regular foot care.

 

Caregiver in Huntersville NC: Ingrown Toenail Prevention

Caregiver in Huntersville NC: Ingrown Toenail Prevention

 

Recognizing Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can cause lots of pain and suffering because the edge of the toenail curves down into the skin.  As the nail grows, the edge drives further in, causing bleeding, swelling, and possibly infection.  Usually, ingrown toenails occur in the big toe but they can occur on other toes.  If you are looking at your elderly loved one’s toe and seeing redness and swelling near a ragged toenail edge, it is most likely an ingrown toenail.  Other signs include pus oozing from the side of the nail and blood pooling there.

Your elderly parent may have a hard time putting on shoes or walking when they have an ingrown toenail.  Unfortunately, the pain will only worsen and the risk of infection will rise unless the ingrown toenail is treated right away.

 

Treating an Ingrown Toenail

You can help your elderly parent relieve the pain and pressure of an ingrown toenail by doing a few simple treatments.  However, if the toenail is infected, you must take your parent to see the doctor to take a more aggressive approach. Infections in elderly people can be very dangerous.

 

Here are some steps that let you and other family caregivers
treat your elderly parent’s ingrown toenail at home…

-Soak their foot in warm water for about ten minutes, like in the bathtub or a basin.

-Clean it well with mild soap, especially around the ingrown toenail.

-Pat the area dry with a soft towel.

-Soak a small piece of cotton in an antiseptic cleanser.

-Pull the skin away from the toenail with the end of a nail file.

-Place the cotton piece between the nail and the skin, keeping them separated.

-Cover the area with a bandage and change it daily.

-Avoid tight shoes for a few days to let the ingrown toenail heal.

 

If the area around the toenail doesn’t heal or gets infected, you should take your elderly parent to the doctor to get treatment.  In extreme cases, ingrown toenails need surgery to permanently correct the problem.

 

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

As a caregiver, you can help your elderly parent avoid the pain of ingrown toenails by washing their feet every week with warm, soapy water and drying them off, even between the toes.  Keep their toenails trimmed straight across and not too long or short.  Make sure their shoes are well-fitting and not squeezing their toes.  With regular foot care, elderly parents may be able to avoid getting ingrown toenails.

 

If you or someone you know needs a caregiver in Huntersville, NC, contact the caregivers at Affordable HomeCare.  We provide quality and affordable care for many disabled and elderly loved-ones in our community.
Call us at (704) 323-5454 for more information.

Source:
http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0215/p311.html

 

About Ted Nagraba

I am the Owner of Affordable HomeCare of Charlotte, North Carolina. Affordable HomeCare provides an alternative to the traditional solutions of nursing homes or other retirement institutions. Now, even with physical limitations, you can live the most independent and enjoyable life possible. With our personalized live-in or hourly care, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home.
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