You are currently viewing Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a common foot ailment that can cause discomfort, pain, and even infection if left untreated. From understanding the underlying causes to exploring treatment options, this comprehensive blog post aims to provide valuable insights into ingrown toenails, along with expert guidance from podiatrists.

Understanding Ingrown Toenails:

  1. What Are Ingrown Toenails? Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and potential infection. This condition typically affects the big toe but can occur in any toe.
  2. Causes of Ingrown Toenails: Several factors can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails, including:
    • Improper nail trimming: Cutting nails too short or rounding the edges can encourage ingrown toenails.
    • Tight footwear: Wearing shoes that crowd the toes can exert pressure on the nails, increasing the risk of ingrowth.
    • Trauma: Stubbing the toe or repetitive trauma to the nail can cause it to grow improperly.
    • Genetics: Some individuals may inherit a predisposition to ingrown toenails due to the shape or structure of their nails.
  3. Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails: Common symptoms of ingrown toenails include:
    • Pain and tenderness along the edge of the nail
    • Redness and swelling around the affected toe
    • Increased sensitivity to pressure or touch
    • Pus or drainage if the ingrown nail becomes infected
  4. Complications of Infected Ingrown Toenails: If left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to complications such as:
    • Infection: Bacterial infection can occur, causing pain, swelling, and discharge.
    • Abscess formation: Pus-filled pockets may develop around the ingrown nail, requiring drainage.
    • Chronic inflammation: Recurrent ingrown toenails can lead to chronic inflammation and tissue damage.

Treatment Options:

  1. Conservative Measures:
    • Soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water can help soften the nail and reduce inflammation.
    • Gentle nail trimming: Cutting the nail straight across and avoiding sharp corners can prevent ingrowth.
    • Wearing properly fitting footwear with ample toe room can alleviate pressure on the toenails.
  2. Professional Intervention:
    • Podiatrists offer various treatments for ingrown toenails, including:
      • Partial nail avulsion: Surgical removal of the ingrown portion of the nail to promote healing.
      • Nail lifting: Lifting the ingrown nail edge and placing a small wedge to prevent regrowth into the skin.
      • Antibiotics: If the ingrown toenail is infected, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed to clear the infection.

Expert Podiatrist Insights: Podiatrists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating ingrown toenails, offering personalized care tailored to each patient’s needs. They can provide expert guidance on prevention strategies and recommend appropriate interventions to alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence.

Conclusion: Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem that can cause significant discomfort and inconvenience if not addressed promptly. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ingrown toenails, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain healthy feet and seek timely intervention from a podiatrist when needed. Don’t let ingrown toenails disrupt your daily life—consult a podiatrist for expert care and guidance.

To schedule an appointment with our board-certified foot and ankle specialists, Book Your Appointment Now