If you suffer from an ingrown toenail occasionally, it can be a painful inconvenience, but for some people, several toes can be affected over and over again, making an inconvenience into a chronic fight to control infections, pain, and discomfort.
An inward growing toenail is not always obvious to the untrained eye since the edge of the nail may be hidden by the soft skin. There may be swelling and yellowing, redness, and pus. If the skin on your toe is also unusually warm, that could be a sign of a bacterial or fungal nail infection that could spread and cause serious complications, especially in those individuals who have diabetes.
Some causes of ingrown toenails include:
- Improper shoes—High heeled shoes can cause or exacerbate ingrown toenails because they force your feet into the front of the shoe. Choose shoes with a wide toe box to help prevent this unnecessary pressure.
- Not cutting nails straight across—The nails should be cut straight across with a toenail clipper to be certain they are cut evenly and span the entire width of the toe. If you cut your nails too short and on a curve, the edge of the nail is more likely to grow into the surrounding skin.
- Injury—Stubbing or injuring your toe can cause the nail to grow inward.
- Fungal nail infections—Foot fungi can cause serious infections that can undermine the strength and vitality of the nail and cause it to grow into the skin.
How to treat ingrown toenails
Treatments vary depending on the severity and they can range from the conservative to the surgical. Warm water soaks can soften the skin around the nail and help prevent infection. You can try lifting up the edge of the nail and inserting a small piece of cotton to help the nail grow away from the skin. Be sure to treat any early signs of infection with antibacterials. If your ingrown toenails keep coming back, your foot doctor can do a straightforward outpatient procedure during which the toe is numbed and the ingrown nail is removed, allowing a new nail to grow correctly.
If you are suffering from ingrown toenails, schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha is committed to the best podiatric care for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!