If you trim your toenails too short, especially on the sides of your big toe, you are setting the stage for an ingrown toenail – a common condition in which toenail corners grow into the flesh. Many people taper the corners when trimming toenails so that the nail curves with the shape of their toe; this technique encourages the toenail to grow into the skin of your toe. Often, you can take care of ingrown toenails Pico Robertson, Beverly Hills, on your own. But if you have severe pain, your healthcare provider can take steps to relieve the discomfort and prevent complications.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail
When you have an ingrown toenail, it may be painful, swollen, and hard. Later, the surrounding skin may become inflamed, red, infected, and sore. Ingrown toenails are common among teenagers and can affect any toenails, but this painful condition mostly affects the big toe.
You should see your healthcare provider if you have pus or inflamed skin that appears to be spreading and if you experience severe discomfort. You also need to seek medical attention if you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to the feet.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown nails may develop for many reasons, including injuring a toenail, nail infections, and certain medical conditions. But the most common causes are wearing tight shoes that crowd the toenails and tapering the corners of the toenail. Some cases are congenital; for example, the nail could be too large for the toe.
Risk factors for ingrown toenails
Anyone can develop ingrown toenails, but some people are more likely to than others. For example, being an adolescent puts you at risk of this problem; when feet sweat, the nail and skin soften, increasing the chances of an ingrown toenail. Below are other risk factors for ingrown toenails.
- Wearing tight shoes that construct the toes
- Nail care habits encourage the nail to grow into the skin, including rounding the corner and cutting the nails too short.
- Being unable to care for your nails
- Medical problems like diabetes that cause poor blood flow
- Engaging in activities like kicking and running; these out your toe at risk of injury
Treatments for ingrown toenails
Many people with ingrown toenails successfully treat the problem with home care. It is best to start treatment as soon as you recognize an ingrown toenail. Early treatment may prevent the need for invasive treatment. Here is how you can treat an ingrown toenail at home.
- Soak the affected foot in warm water at least three times daily
- Ensure your foot is dry during the rest of the day
- Wear comfortable shoes with a wide toe box. If you can, wear sandals until the condition clears up
- If you have, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relief
- If you see no improvements or the condition worsens, see your healthcare provider
If you visit your doctor, they may gently lift the edge of the ingrown toenail and insert some cotton between the nail and your skin. Surgical treatment may be an option if the toenail is infected.
If you have an ingrown toenail, visit your provider at Eazy Foot & Ankle for treatment to relieve the pain and prevent infection.