The 2 Main Causes of Ingrown Toenails

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Ingrown toenails are an extremely painful condition that occurs when the edge of your toenail digs into the tender skin that runs along the side of your toe. While your toenails normally grow along the surface of your skin, a variety of circumstances can cause the edge of the nail to push into the tender skin. This situation can cause pain and swelling and possibly lead to an infection, which can be especially problematic for patients with diabetes.

While any one of your toenails can grow into your skin, the condition most often affects the big toe.

Two of the main causes of ingrown toenails are:

  1. Improper nail cutting—This is probably the main cause of the majority of ingrown toenail problems. Always strive to cut your nails straight across, with only a slight curve at the edges. If you keep the edge of your nail up high, then it can’t begin to grow under the skin on the side. Once a nail starts growing inward, it will continue to grow into your tissue unless it is redirected or modified. You can try lifting up the edge of the nail and inserting a small piece of cotton to help redirect the nail.
  2. Tight fitting shoes—Footwear that puts too much pressure on the toes, like pumps and cowboy boots, can cause the nail to bend over and start growing inward. Avoid shoes that constrict the toes. Always wear properly-fitted shoes with a wide toe box and the correct arch support for your foot type.

Ingrown toenails may not be too painful in the beginning, but as the condition worsens the pain will intensify. Having an open cut makes you more susceptible to developing a serious bacterial or fungal nail infection.

If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, it is time to see your podiatrist. Call Achilles Foot and Ankle Surgery, PC located in Martins Ferry, Ohio and St. Clairsville, Ohio, as well as Wheeling West Virginia. With access to advanced technologies, Dr. Bruce G. Blank and his staff can help you manage all of your foot and ankle conditions. Call 740-633-4188 or make an appointment online today.