Ingrown toenails are most common with the big toe of the foot, although they can occur with other toes. When the nail is subjected to excessive pressure (e.g. by ill-fitting shoes), one or both sides grow into the skin and flesh of the toe. In addition to inflammation and pain, an ingrown toenail may cause localized as well as systemic infection if untreated. The medical term for ingrown toenails is onychocryptosis. Diabetes and other circulatory disorders can cause complications because even a minor foot injury left untreated, like an ingrown toenail, may not heal properly and lead to infection.
Ingrown toenails may be caused by the following factors:
- Improper nail care, e.g. cutting nails too short, cutting to ‘round’ the toenail instead of straight across
- Wearing shoes that compress the nail against the toe skin, especially athletic exercise in ill-fitting shoes
- Toe injuries
- Heredity, e.g. excessively curved toenails
The following symptoms may include:
- Tenderness and pain in toe or alongside toenail
- Redness and swelling
- Infected tissue around toenail
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you are experiencing discomfort from an ingrown toenail, a warm saltwater or Epsom Salt soak of the foot may alleviate the pain. Wear shoes that fit properly and opting for open-toed footwear until you see the doctor may help. However, the best treatment is to see a podiatrist. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to complications, so please contact us right away at 706-861-6200 or online appointment request. Advanced Foot Care Centers has six locations in our communities in Tennessee (Hixson and Chattanooga) and Georgia (Ft. Oglethorpe and Dalton). One of our five podiatrists will evaluate your condition, make the appropriate recommendations to relieve your current pain (e.g. medications, surgery if needed) and design a prevention plan with you. Ingrown toenails can be unsightly and painful – let us help you resume your normal active life.