A red throbbing ingrown toenail can put a damper on activity, making even a simple walk around the block intolerable.
The specialists At Cortez Foot and Ankle Specialists in Bradenton, Sarasota, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida, treat countless ingrown toenails. Here they explain the common causes, preventive tips, and treatment options.
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes infection.
Most commonly, this occurs on the big toe, but any toe can be impacted.
How you may be causing your ingrown toenails
The three most common causes of ingrown toenails can largely be prevented. They are:
Incorrectly cutting your toenails
Cutting your toenails too short or rounding the corners encourages the nails to grow into your skin. Instead, trim your nails straight across and avoid cutting them too close to the skin. Use proper nail clippers and be careful not to tear or injure the surrounding skin while cutting.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes
Those pointy high heels may look amazing, but they can exert pressure on your toes, forcing the nails to grow into the surrounding skin. Choose shoes that fit correctly and offer ample space for your toes to move comfortably.
Stubbing your toe or experiencing repetitive trauma, such as during intense physical activities like running, can damage the nail bed and surrounding tissue. As a result, the nail can grow irregularly or dig into the skin, increasing your chances of developing an ingrown toenail.
If you participate in activities that put your feet at risk, wear protective footwear or toe guards.
Treating an ingrown toenail
If, despite your best efforts, you still develop an ingrown toenail, soak your feet in warm water to reduce inflammation and soften the skin. Next, gently lift the ingrown nail using a clean cotton ball or dental floss placed under the edge. This can help guide the nail to grow over the skin instead of into it.
If the pain persists or the area becomes infected, book an appointment with the experts at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists. They can provide appropriate treatment, including antibiotics or, in severe cases, minor surgery to remove the ingrown portion of the nail. For ingrown toenail treatment and all of your foot care needs, call us, or request an appointment using the online booking tool.