Ingrown Toenails: Causes and Treatment Options

If you’ve ever had to deal with an ingrown toenail, you know how uncomfortable and painful it can be! So, to familiarize you with this condition, today, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Cassandra Stache, DPM of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share common causes and treatment options.

Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows into the surrounding area of the nail bed. They are often painful, causing soreness, inflammation, and, in some cases, infection in the affected area. When an ingrown nail develops, putting pressure on the infected toe or simple tasks like walking can become challenging. Without proper treatment, it can be incapacitating.

Common Causes

Ingrown nails can happen for several reasons – some are accidental, while others are genetically unescapable. Here are some common causes of ingrown toenails:

  • A moist sock, shoe, or environment for the foot
  • Shoes that are overly tight or improperly fitted
  • An accidental incident like a stub
  • Trimming the toenail too short or with a rounded edge
  • Wearing shoes with elevated heels
  • The spreading of bacteria via unsanitary nail trimmers or clippers.

While these common causes can be avoided, other causes are sometimes beyond our control, such as thickened and hardened toenails or nails that curve with age.

Treatment Options

If you’re presently dealing with an ingrown toenail, identifying the correct treatment is necessary and, in some cases, urgent. They can cause considerable pain, so creating a treatment plan is important.

At-Home Treatment

If you have a mild ingrown toenail that isn’t painful, you may be able to address it at home. For at-home care, maintain a daily routine of soaking your ingrown nail for at least 20 minutes, then gently massage the affected area’s skin. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when done.

In-Office Procedures

For more severe cases of ingrown nails, and if you’re experiencing a great deal of pain, you may need podiatric intervention. Your podiatrist can perform a procedure to treat ingrown toenails. Patients can typically resume activity the next day.

If you have an ingrown toenail and are experiencing pain and discomfort, contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. You can click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you to book your appointment.

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