Most ingrown toenails aren’t a cause for concern, resolving on their own with proper home care. Left untreated, however, ingrown toenails can expose your skin to bacteria, which can lead to pain, swelling, and an infection that could become severe.
Ingrown toenails affect all ages and are common. In fact, about 1 in 5 people who visit a doctor for foot problems has an ingrown toenail.
An ingrown toenail is when the edge of a nail grows into the toe, instead of out and away from the skin. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe, causing swelling and pain.
You can often manage the inflammation on your own if you treat the ingrown toenail in time. But for people with a weakened immune system or diabetes, the inflammation can spread.
You know you have an ingrown toenail because it hurts a lot when you stand or walk. When you look at the toe, you may see that the edge of the nail is starting to grow into the skin and that the toe around the nail is red and slightly inflamed.
The most common cause of ingrown toenails is trimming your nails incorrectly or too short. You should cut your nails straight across rather than rounding them at the edges to follow the shape of your toe.
Other causes of ingrown toenails or factors that increase your risk of an ingrown toenail include:
You’re also at a greater risk of ingrown toenails if you have tube-shaped nails that curve drastically around the toes.
Try the following treatments at the first sign of an ingrown toenail:
If the ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to home treatment, it may be time to visit Hansen Foot & Ankle.
You should schedule an appointment with Dr. Hansen if you notice the toe producing pus or if new, inflamed tissue is growing around the edges of the affected toenail. You should also see a doctor if the skin around the toenail has started growing over the nail.
Contact Hansen Foot & Ankle if you have an ingrown toenail that’s not responding to home treatment. If you’re diabetic and notice an ingrown toenail, don’t wait to see if the toe heals. Call the office or request your appointment online today.