Posts for tag: Ingrown Toenail
Are you dealing with a painful toenail? It could be an ingrown toenail.
Any ingrown toenail happens when the edge of a toenail, typically the big toenail, grows into the skin. As you might imagine, it can be pretty painful (but if you have one, we certainly don’t have to tell you). If you suspect you might have an ingrown toenail but are unsure, here’s what you should know, including telltale signs of one.
Why Do Ingrown Toenails Happen?
There are many reasons why you could be dealing with an ingrown toenail. Of course, one of the most common causes is not trimming your toenail correctly. Didn’t realize there was a right and wrong way to keep your toe? Well, there is! If you trim your nails too short or cut them at a curve (rather than straight), you may be prone to developing an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails can also happen if you’ve recently injured the toe (even stubbing your toe counts) or if your shoes are just a little too tight.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?
If you have an ingrown toenail, the first symptom you may experience is foot pain around the affected nail. The area may also be red, swollen or tender to the touch.
When Should I Call My Foot Doctor?
While soaking the toe and allowing it time to heal (you better stop wearing those tight-fitted shoes during this time!) can often be all that’s needed to manage your symptoms until the nail is healthy again, some circumstances warrant visiting us for care including,
- When at-home measures haven’t improved your symptoms within three days
- When the pain gets worse (this could be a sign of infection)
- When the toe becomes severely swollen, is warm to the touch or begins to drain pus
- If you have nerve damage in your feet, diabetes or circulation problems
If in doubt about whether you may be dealing with an ingrown toenail, call your podiatrist to find out if your symptoms warrant coming in for a consultation. If you develop increased redness and pain, fever or skin that’s warm to the touch, these are signs of an infection, and it’s important that you turn to your foot doctor immediately.
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
Ingrown toenails may begin mildly but can quickly go from bad to worse. This frustrating and painful condition can affect anyone and cause significant issues. Unlike other foot-related conditions, which are often due to genetics or underlying conditions, ingrown toenails are almost always preventable and often come from lifestyle choices like the type of shoes you wear or the way you trim your toenails.
Do I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The nail begins to grow inward, curling in on one or both sides of the toenail and digging into the skin. An ingrown nail may begin with mild pain and discomfort and end up advancing quickly, producing symptoms like severe pain, difficulty walking, or even infection — which produces its own set of symptoms such as pus drainage or fever.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
Preventing an ingrown toenail often boils down to the way you trim your nails and care for your feet. Always cut the nail straight across the top and never round off the corners to ensure that the nail grows straight. Wearing too-tight or narrow shoes which place pressure onto the toe can also contribute an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always keep your feet dry and clean and wear fresh socks daily.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are home remedies that may help stop the pain caused by ingrown toenails, such as soaking the foot in a warm foot bath and wearing better fitting footwear. Your podiatrist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help avoid infection. In some cases, surgery by your podiatrist may be necessary. It's important to consult your doctor to see which method is best for you.
If you think you have an ingrown toenail or need help learning to better prevent them, a podiatrist can help you determine the best plan to healthier feet. Consulting with your foot doctor at regular foot examinations can help ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free for years to come.