Toenails that curve and dig into the skin of your toe are called ingrown toenails. Sometimes even the size of the nail are covered in skin and become embedded in the toe. This is why you should always be sure to cut your toenails straight across to discourage the sides from growing into your skin. Any toe can develop an ingrown toenail however, it is often the big toe.
While ingrown toenails are not often serious medical problems they can be severely painful. And, if left untreated and uncared for properly ingrown toenails can become infected. This is why it is important to receive proper treatment for your ingrown toenails right away.
What causes ingrown toenails?
- Shoes that are too small because they squeeze the toes.
- Toenails being cut too short.
- A toenail that has become damaged or chips can become an ingrown toenail.
- Having toes are too small to accommodate proper nail growth.
People with congenital conditions that cause them to have toenails that are frequently larger or smaller than normal should take care to always trim their nails properly and maintain proper foot hygiene because they are at high risk of developing ingrown toenails.
You may also develop ingrown toenails after sustaining a foot injury, such as a broken foot.
Other ways to keep your feet/toes healthy.
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Keep your feet safe in public areas where they are susceptible to contracting diseases like athlete’s foot.
- Wear breathable footwear
- Don’t share footwear
- Always wear shoes that fit you properly
- If your toenails are discolored be sure to not apply any nail polish to them. Discoloration is often a sign of infection, and the Polish may make the infection worse.
- Soak your feet
- Take over the counter pain medication
- Using a small nail file pulls the skin gently away from the nail
- Rub your toe with antibiotic ointment.
- Bandage your toes
When you develop ingrown toenails it is important to put any and all of these treatments into practice right away before you develop an infection.
If you suspect you have an infection or your ingrown toenails consistently come back, it is best to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. In addition to treating your ingrown toenail and possible infection, the podiatrist can give you a clear idea of what causes ingrown toenails which can help you avoid developing them in the future. If it persists, you may need a small surgical procedure to remove the ingrown sides of your toenail. People with diabetes should always be their podiatrist if they think they have an ingrown toenail as if they can lead to serious health complications.
Now that you know more about the causes and treatment for ingrown toenails be sure to get yours looked at by a foot care professional, especially if you suspect that you have an infection. If you have any further questions about ingrown toenails, don’t hesitate to contact us. To schedule an appointment, visit doctorvikki.com.