What are ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail causes pain, swelling, redness, and a warm sensation in the affected toe and is caused by a segment of the toenail embedding in the skin around the nail. The infection can intensify the pain in the toe and lead to further complications.
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can quickly escalate from a minor annoyance to a major problem. Depending on how big they are, they can cause minor discomfort or excruciating pain.
Some people are fortunate enough to have an ingrown nail that resolves on its own without treatment, whereas others are less fortunate and have aggressive ingrown nails that force them to walk with a limp and can even immobilize them.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are caused by chronic inflammation of the tissue surrounding the nail, which can be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, or poor foot structure. Ingrown toenails can be incredibly painful, and they are most common in people who wear shoes that restrict their toes, such as high heels or work boots.
As a result, one or more nails may begin to grow downward into the skin rather than straight out, resulting in an infection. Some of the common causes of ingrown toenails include:
- Cutting your toenails too short
- Wearing shoes that are too tight for your feet
- Injuries or trauma, such as being stepped on
- Having unusually curved toenails
What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail causes a variety of symptoms such as:
- Pain and tenderness
- Swelling and redness
- Toe might feel warm or hot
- Infection of the tissue surrounding your toe
How are ingrown toenails diagnosed?
A physical exam is usually used to diagnose ingrown toenails. If your toe appears infected, an X-ray may be required to determine how deeply the nail has grown into the skin. An X-ray can also reveal whether or not an injury caused your ingrown toenail.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and straight-line (rather than rounded) nail trimming can all be used to treat ingrown toenails. If the toenail becomes infected, antibiotics or removing the toenail may be necessary.
If the nail must be removed, Dr. Hassan will clean the area around the ingrown portion of the nail to remove any debris and pus. Ingrown toenail removal is performed with forceps after an incision is made around it. The procedure is simple and efficient and will have you back on your feet in no time.
Can ingrown toenails be prevented?
Several lifestyle changes can help to prevent ingrown toenails:
- Cut your toenails so that they are level with the tips of your toes.
- Toenails should be cut in a straight line. Don't shape your nails to resemble the tip of your toe.
- Avoid cutting your toenails too short; the pressure from shoes may cause a nail to grow into the skin.
- Nail trimming by a podiatrist like Dr. Hassan is recommended for those with diabetes or poor circulation in their feet.
Can ingrown toenails cause other problems?
An untreated or unnoticed ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and cause a serious infection. Toenail infections can also cause foot ulcers or open sores, as well as a decrease in blood flow to the infected area. In some cases, the infected area may experience tissue decay and tissue death.
A foot infection can be more serious if you have diabetes. Minor cuts, scrapes, or ingrown toenails can quickly become infected due to a lack of blood flow and nerve sensitivity.
to Ingrown Toenails
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from an ingrown toenail, don't suffer any longer. See Dr. Hassan today for a simple and efficient solution. With years of experience treating ingrown toenails, Dr. Hassan can get you back on your feet in no time!Book Appointment →