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Ingrown Toenails

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms of ingrown toenails, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What are Ingrown Toe Nails?

Ingrown toe nails press and push into the skin of the nail grooves, causing pain, swelling, and discomfort. Although any toe nails can be affected, big toes are most vulnerable to this condition. Cutting your toenails incorrectly, wearing tight shoes, and improper hygiene are often causes of this common condition. Teens and young adults are also more susceptible to ingrown nails. You can typically treat this injury from home.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Some people can be prone to an ingrown toenail due to the sports they play, genetics, and other factors. 

  • Heredity: Those with a family history of ingrown nails are more likely to get them. 
  • Very tight shoes that press hard into the nails: Narrow shoes or tight socks can put pressure on the sides of the toes, causing injury. 
  • Improperly trimmed nails: Those who taper the sides of their toe nails can promote the nail growing into the skin. Pulling or tearing at the corner of the nails while trimming can also be a problem. 
  • Injury: Trauma such as stubbing the toe or hurting it through sports such as soccer can further damage. 
  • Deformities in the foot or toes: The way the foot is shaped can encourage the nail to grow into the surrounding skin. 
  •  Arthritis and diabetes: These diseases may aggravate ingrown nails due to poor circulation, nerve damage, and mobility issues.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

You can tell you have an ingrown toenail by examining the toe. Unfortunately, symptoms can worsen without proper treatment. 

  • Pain: Painful toes where the nail digs into the flesh
  • Infection: If left on treated, nails can become infected. Look for symptoms of the nails appearing sore and red. 
  • Fluid build up: Toes can appear tough and swollen around the infected area. In addition, discharge may begin to ooze out of the injury.
  • Skin growth: Check to see if the skin begins to grow over the nail.  

Treating Ingrown Toenails

If caught early, you can easily treat ingrown nails from home. However, if conditions worsen or if the nail becomes infected, contact your podiatrist for treatment. 

  • Foot soak: soak feet in a warm Epsom salt bath 
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be used topically or orally to treat the infection. Contact our office for recommendations. 
  • Removal of nail: If infected, your podiatrist may partially or entirely remove the infected or ingrown nail. Do NOT attempt this on your own. 
ingrown toenail

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