Ingrown toenails when untreated can result in pain, redness, swelling, and even infection. The cause of an ingrown toenail stems from the corner or border of the nail growing or digging into the soft skin around it. The big toe is affected most often but it is possible to also get an ingrown toenail on other toes as well.
Common ingrown toenail causes include:
- Wearing shoes that crowd your toenails
- Cutting your toenails too short or not straight across
- Injuring your toenail
- Having unusually curved toenails
- Soak the foot in warm water 3-4 times daily
- Keep the foot dry during the rest of the day.
- Wear comfortable shoes with adequate room for the toes.
- Lifting the nail – Your physician may carefully lift the edge of the ingrown toenail to separate the nail from the overlying skin. This allows the nail to grow above the edge of the skin.
- Partially removing the nail – Your toe will be numbed with an anesthetic before your physician trims or removes the ingrown portion of the nail.
- Removing the nail and tissue – If you repeatedly have an ingrown toenail on the same toe, your physician may recommend removing a portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed).
Although ingrown toenails can be taken care of on your own, you should see a specialist if:
- Pain is persistent or spreading
- You have diabetes
- Have any condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet
- Have any concerns about infection
It is always best to consult your provider to ensure you are getting proper treatment for your ingrown toenail. If you have any questions please call Iowa Ortho at 515-247-8400 or request an appointment online.