Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are one of the most common problems for podiatry patients, and we treat them here almost every day. Although ingrown toenails are a relatively minor problem that can usually be treated with little discomfort, they can send shooting pain through your foot if left untreated.
Sometimes the problem develops when you trim your toenails a bit too short. The nail grows sideways and pushes into the surrounding skin so the longer you wait for treatment, the worse the pain will become. Other causes for ingrown toenails can include:
Shoes cause bunching of the toes in the developmental stages of the foot (frequently in those under 21), which can cause the nail to curl and dig into the skin. This is particularly the case in ill-fitting shoes that are too narrow or too short, but any toed shoes may cause an ingrown nail.
Bad nail-care, including cutting the nail too short, rounded off at the tip or peeled off at the edges instead of being cut straight across.
Trauma to the nail plate or toe, which can occur by stubbing the toenail, dropping things on the toe or going through the end of the shoes (as during sports or other vigorous activity), can cause the flesh to become injured and the nail to grow irregularly and press into the flesh
Predisposition, such as abnormally shaped nail beds, nail deformities caused by diseases, or a genetic susceptibility gives rise to a higher chance of an ingrown nail, but the ingrowth cannot occur without pressure from a shoe.
Ingrown toenails may be the result of a bacterial infection, treatable with antibiotics.
Some people are prone to ingrown toenails and others can develop complications, so it’s best to look carefully at the symptoms and know when it’s best to see a podiatrist about your ingrown toenail problem. Sometimes a doctor isn’t needed and you can fix your ingrown toenail at home. If the toenail is infected, then watch this video about whether you can help the situation yourself or whether you should call us. Over the counter medications for ingrown toenails are often ineffective.
Dr. Farajian will evaluate your ingrown toenail by finding out how the problem developed in the first place and ask about other potential medical problems. If it’s a severe infection, or you have a history of diabetes, a blood test may be ordered. Contact our office so we can treat it and get you back on your feet right away.