Ingrown toenails, a condition where the nail grows into the skin surrounding it, can affect certain people due to a combination of genetic predispositions, lifestyle choices, and physical activities. People can inherit toenail shapes that are more susceptible to becoming ingrown, such as overly curved or thick nails. These people may also have a familial history of the condition. Additionally, athletes and those engaged in activities that place repeated pressure on the toes, such as soccer, ballet, or running, are at a heightened risk due to the constant stress and trauma to the toenails. Improper footwear that constricts the toes can further exacerbate the likelihood of developing this painful condition. Additionally, improper nail care practices, including cutting toenails too short or with rounded edges, can result in the nail growing into the surrounding skin. Recognizing these risk factors can help you prevent ingrown toenails in the future. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, it is suggested you visit a podiatrist. This type of doctor can effectively treat ingrown toenails and offer you suggestions for prevention based on any risk factors you may have. 

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Alex Yanovskiy, DPM of Illinois Foot & Ankle Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Des Plaines , IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is a nail that has curved downward and grown into the skin.  This typically occurs at either the nail borders or the sides of the nail.  As a result, pain, redness, swelling, and warmth may occur in the toe.  If a break in the skin forms due to the ingrown nail, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area; this is typically characterized by a foul odor and drainage.

Ingrown toenails have multiple reasons for developing.  In many instances, the condition is a result of genetics and is inherited.  The most common cause, however, is improper trimming; cutting the toenails too short forces the skin beside the nail to fold over.  An ingrown toenail can also develop due to trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe, or participating in activities that involve repeated kicking or running.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short can also cause ingrown toenails.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies between patients and the severity of the condition.  In most cases, it is best to see your podiatrist for thorough and proper treatment.  After examining your toe, your podiatrist may prescribe oral antibiotics to clear the infection if one is present.  Surgical removal of either a portion of the nail or the entire nail may also be considered.  In some cases, complete removal or destruction of the nail root may be required.  Most patients who undergo nail surgery experience minimal pain afterward and can return to normal activity the following day.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented with proper nail trimming and by avoiding improper-fitting shoes.  When cutting the toenails, be sure that you are cutting in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short.  Shoes should not be too short or tight in the toe box.

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1400 East Golf Rd, Unit 201, Des Plaines, IL 60016

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