Ingrown toenails are a very common condition where the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh of your toe. Ingrown toenails usually happen to the big toe and can be treated at home. However, our podiatrist intervention can sometimes become necessary to avoid infection or other complications.
- Pain or tenderness in your toe along the side of the nail
- Redness around your toenail
- Swelling of your toe around the nail
- Infection of the tissue around your toenail
Going to the Doctor
If an ingrown toenail is left untreated or simply undetected, it may lead to a serious bone infection. If you have diabetes, you’re at greater risk for complications of an ingrown toenail due to poor blood flow and neuropathy. That means a very minor, common problem like an ingrown toenail can lead to a serious infection if it cannot heal properly. That can lead to an open sore called a foot ulcer and even gangrene—which is the death of tissue.
Trim your toenails straight across, rather than curving the nails to match the outline of your toe.
Keep the length of your toenails about even with the tips of your toes. Trimming your toenails too short can lead to ingrown nails as a result of pressure from your shoes against your toes.
Wear properly fitted shoes. Excess pressure or pinching on your toes can cause a nail to grow into the tissue.
If you have diabetes or nerve damage to your feet, you may not notice if your shoes fit poorly. Wear shoes fit for you from a retailer or doctor specializing in fitting shoes for those with foot problems.
If your job is one that puts you at risk for a toe injury, wear protective footwear, like steel-toed boots.