Ingrown toenails are an extremely common condition in which the corner or side of the toenail grows into the soft flesh of the toe. Ingrown toenails can often be taken care of at home, but if pain persists and you notice the pain starts to spread, you might see a Podiatrist to take care of it. If you think you have an ingrown toenail or currently have one, keep reading to learn more about them.
Common Causes of Ingrown Toenails
As we said before, ingrown toenails are extremely common and they can occur for a variety of reasons. First things first, it’s important to note that ingrown toenails can be hereditary, meaning you are genetically inclined to get them.
Ingrown toenails can also happen due to trauma on your toes. This trauma can be stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on your toes like kicking or running.
Most commonly, people get ingrown toenails due to improper trimming. People tend to cut their nails too short and this encourages the skin close to the nail to grow over it. It’s also common to get ingrown toenails because of improper footwear. Socks and shoes that are too tight affect the way your toenail naturally grows.
Lastly, ingrown toenails can occur because of nail problems like fungal infections or losing a nail altogether.
If you don’t have an infection or any other serious foot condition like fungal infections, ingrown toenails can typically be treated at home. A common method is to soak your foot in room temperature water, with Epsom salt added if your Podiatrist recommends, and gently massage the side of the nail fold to reduce inflammation.
We highly recommend that you attempt “at home surgery” such as repeated cutting of the nail. Methods like these result in further complications, resulting in a visit to your Podiatrist.
When to See a Podiatrist
It’s time to see a Podiatrist when the ingrown toenail persists and causes further issues such as swelling, infections, or serious pain. A Podiatrist can help treat any infections or fungus, and can also help trim the toenail in a safe way.
Ingrown Toenail Prevention
There are two things you can do every day to avoid ingrown toenails. The first thing is to always wear proper shoes that are the right size and correct for the type of activity you are taking part in. The same goes for your socks, which can be another cause of ingrown toenail. The second thing you can do is trim your nails at an appropriate length, and straight across. Avoid cutting them too short or repeatedly cutting them after you get an ingrown toenail.
If you have more questions or need to make an appointment, please reach out to us directly for assistance.