An ingrown toenail is the result of a curved toenail that grows down into the skin on the sides of the nail. As the toenail digs deep into the skin and the skin continues to grow around it; pain, redness, and swelling can occur. In severe cases, this can lead to an infection that is often indicated by a pus or drainage and usually coincides with a bad odor. Ingrown toenails can have different causes that include trauma to the toe, improperly trimmed nails that are cut too short or on a curve instead of straight across, and footwear that is too tight. The tendency for ingrown toenails may also be inherited or caused by other nail conditions, such as fungal nails. Patients who experience an infection, or those who have recurring ingrown toenails should visit a podiatrist for treatment. A podiatrist can determine what course of treatment is correct for you, as well as administer the proper medication to cease an infection and any corresponding pain.
Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact the foot specialists of Marvel Foot & Ankle Centers. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.
- Bacterial infections
- Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
- Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
- Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
- Genetic predisposition
Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.