Toe braces are used for correcting toenail problems such as curved toenails or ingrown toenails. A toenail is expected to grow straight and outward but could end up growing inwards on many occasions. When a toenail bends inward and exerts pressure on the surrounding skin so much that it gets embedded in the skin, we have a case called ingrown toenail. An ingrown toenail can be very painful and easily infected if left untreated. Braces are a non-surgical option for treating curved or ingrown toenails. A brace is designed to redirect deformed nails hence alleviating the pain that comes with an excessive curvature of toenails. Braces work like a spring, they take the pressure off the nail bed and adjacent skin by elevating the toenail. Before getting into the details of how braces work, let’s quickly touch on the causes of curved toenails.
Causes of curved toenails
Trauma to the toe can happen in several ways including the wearing of ill-fitted shoes, toe-stubbing, hitting the toe against a blunt object, a heavy object dropping on the toe, as well as picking at the nail. Athletes, e.g. footballers and sprinters, who make extensive use of the feet are highly susceptible to toe trauma. When the toenail is put through such trauma, the nail could be absolutely disoriented hence growing in awkward positions such as growing into the nail bed or embedded in the surrounding skin. Symptoms of toenail trauma include split or torn nail, bleeding, discoloration, pain, etc.
Incorrect cutting of the toenail
Nail specialists say this is perhaps the most common cause of curved toenails because almost all of us, at least 6 in every ten persons, cut the toenail in a way that encourages nail ingrowth. Usually, we cut the nail by following the curve of the nail and tracing it to the edges. This encourages the toenail to bend inwards and into the nail bed or surrounding skin. Cutting the toenail across and straight will discourage curved or ingrown toenail.
In some cases, ingrown toenails are caused by the size of the toenail. Small toes do not provide wide enough nail beds for the growth of the toenail hence resulting in inward growth of the nail.
Genetic predisposition is a key player in the occurrence of curved toenails. Some people are more susceptible to curved or ingrown toenails as a result of inherited genes hence they need to pay particular attention to proper nail hygiene.
Deficiency of iron, zinc, and Vitamin B12 tend to make nails grow abnormally hence raising the risk of injury.
A major cause of any toenail problem is poor toenail hygiene. The feet must be kept clean and dry as often as possible. Sweaty feet, as well as too dry feet, encourage the occurrence of a curved or ingrown toenail.
Treatment of curved toenail
A curved or ingrown toenail can be effectively and permanently cured in several ways. There are very efficient home remedies that would get the nail to grow straight.
- Soak the feet in a mixture of water and salt for about thirty minutes each day and then use a cotton ball to push the skin away from the nail and pull the nail upward gently. Apply antibiotic ointment to the surrounding skin to avoid the development of infection.
- Using Curve Correct which is also known as onycho correct to elevate the nail.
How Curve Correct toe brace works
Curve Correct contains 10 braces each of which is a composite strip designed for fastening over the nail. When fastened on the toenail, Curve Correct or onycho correct brace gently elevates the edges of the nail from the surrounding skin hence causing the nail to grow straight.
How to apply Curve Correct aka onycho correct toe brace
- The first step is to prepare the nail. Trim the nail and wash off all contaminants including nail polish, blood, and pus.
- Pre-fit the brace: after proper nail preparation, pre-fit the brace on the toenail to determine the angle of application. Place one end of the brace on the most affected side of the toenail and see the angle of the curve.
- File the nail: file the surface of the nail proper especially ridges and spots to ensure there is a minimal gap underneath the brace.
- Clean with solvent: clean the surface of the nail with a solvent after filing to get rid of nail particles.
- Bonding: apply a thin layer of adhesive to one end of the brace and place it as pre-tested. Place the brace quickly enough before the adhesive cures. Leave for about 1 minute and then apply adhesive to the other end of the brace and place firmly on the toenail with a hand for a minute then leave it to dry. Do not let the adhesive touch any part of your body including the toenail.
Curve Correct brace corrects curved toenail fast and permanently. It is also very safe.
Other treatment options include partial nail removal and total nail removal.