What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when an edge or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding flesh. This commonly causes pain, tenderness, swelling, and redness in the area.
Common causes of ingrown toenails include:
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes
- Trimming nails too short or much too rounded at the edges
- Trauma to the nail (such as stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it)
- Heredity – some of us are simply born with nails that a more naturally likely to become ingrown
When Should I Seek Professional Treatment for an Ingrown Toenail?
You are always welcome to contact us anytime you have concerns about an ingrown toenail, but there are some circumstances when we always recommend doing so:
- You notice signs of infection (severe pain, drainage of pus, red streaks extending from the area)
- The pain is simply too much for you to address the matter on your own (we can make treatment much more comfortable)
- You have diabetes, poor circulation, or other conditions that increase your risk of infection
- You regularly have ingrown toenails no matter what you have tried to do to prevent them
Permanent Treatment for Ingrown Toenails
Some cases of ingrown toenails do not respond to conservative treatment, and require a more aggressive approach.
In these instances—and especially when a toenail repeatedly becomes ingrown—we might recommend removal of either a portion or the entire affected nail. We can safely and carefully cut out the ingrown portion of the nail, then apply a chemical to the corresponding portion of the nail bed. The result? The ingrown part of the nail can no longer grow back, reducing your risk of future ingrown toenails along the same nail edge to almost zero.
It might sound as though removing a toenail will be painful, but this is not the case. Anesthesia will be used to numb the area prior to the procedure, and by the time it wears off your symptoms should be vastly improved.