Why is My Toe Throbbing?

An ingrown toenail can cause throbbing pain in your toe and it may not be immediately obvious that an ingrown nail is the cause of the pain. If you see redness, swelling, and oozing at the edge of your nail, accompanied by pain, especially when you press on the edge of your toe, then you may have a nail growing into your skin instead of harmlessly over the top. Adults tend to get ingrown toenails more often, but they can be a problem at nearly any age.

Some of the causes of ingrown toenails

  • Hereditary influence—Many foot problems are just something you inherited from your bloodline, and you just have to deal with it. Of course, not exacerbating the problem by wearing tight shoes and cutting your nails too short will still help.
  • Poor nail cutting technique—The most easily preventable cause of an ingrown toenail is to make sure you are careful when cutting your nails. Wear your glasses and use the right tools to get a nice straight cut or very slight curve while keeping the nail long enough so it can’t get a foothold!
  • Shoes that are too tight—Tightly fitting shoes such as high heels can press on your toes and force them together, making ingrown nails more likely. Always wear shoes with enough room in the toe box for your toes to wiggle.

Symptoms of ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails will often be subtle at first and you may not know what the problem is until it becomes more severely swollen, red, and painful. Your toe will be very sensitive to touch and just rubbing against your footwear can be unbearable.

Treating an ingrown toenail can be a painful undertaking for the squeamish, so it is a good idea to have your foot doctor correct the problem. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide excellent foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA offices. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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