An ingrown toenail, called onychocryptosis, occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin. Any of your toes may develop an ingrown nail, but it usually affects the big toe. Causes of an ingrown toenail include:
If you trim your toenails too short, or give them a rounded shape rather than making a straight cut across the top, the surrounding skin can fold over the nail. As the toenail grows, it pushes further into the skin, creating an ingrown nail.
Shoes that are too short or too tight can push the nail into your skin, increasing the chance of it becoming ingrown.
Patients with common foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, and flatfeet have a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail. An injury such as stubbing your toe or activities that put pressure on your toes may also lead to the problem.
The primary symptoms you’ll experience are red, swollen skin and pain — often intense pain. You may also develop an infection, which can quickly become a serious health concern if the infection spreads.
If you suspect the ingrown nail is infected, or you have diabetes or poor circulation, schedule an appointment with the team at Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers. Getting professional treatment is essential to prevent complications.
For a mild ingrown toenail, you can reduce the inflammation and relieve your pain by soaking your foot in warm, soapy water, then applying antiseptic and a bandage. However, you should not trim the ingrown portion because it’s easy to cut the skin and risk an infection.
When a podiatrist treats your ingrown toenail, they may trim or remove the ingrown part of the nail and use a temporary splint to keep the nail and skin apart while it heals.
If you have recurring ingrown toenails, they may remove the ingrown portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue to prevent future problems.
When you have a painful ingrown toenail, call the office Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers or schedule an appointment online.