Ingrown toenails occur when your nail digs into the surrounding skin, resulting in inflammation and tenderness. They can affect anyone, but they are more common in people who wear tight shoes or have curved or thick nails. If left untreated, Kingston ingrown toenails can cause severe pain and discomfort and, in severe cases, lead to more serious complications such as bacterial or bone infection. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent and treat ingrown toenails to avoid further complications and ensure your feet remain healthy.
When to consult your doctor about ingrown toenails
An ingrown toenail develops when your toenail grows into the skin surrounding the nail rather than over, leading to pain, redness, and swelling around the affected area. Symptoms of an ingrown toenail can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain and infection. Common symptoms of an ingrown toenail include tenderness and pain around the affected nail. The skin around the nail may also become red, swollen, and inflamed, and it may feel warm.
In some cases, pus or other discharge may be present. The affected toe may also feel tender to the touch and difficult to move or bend. As the condition worsens, the area around the ingrown toenail may become increasingly sensitive. You may experience pain due to the pressure of wearing shoes or socks can be painful. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can result in a more serious infection or even require surgical intervention.
Factors that increase your risk of developing ingrown toenails
Improper nail trimming is one of the primary risk factors, as cutting your nail too short or rounding the edges can cause the nail to grow into the surrounding skin. You should trim your nails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Wearing tight-fitting shoes is also a risk factor, as the pressure from the shoes can push your nail into the surrounding skin. Additionally, foot injuries such as stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on your foot can cause the nail to grow abnormally, increasing the likelihood of developing an ingrown toenail. Other risk factors include genetic predisposition, fungal infections, and medical conditions such as diabetes.
Remedies for ingrown toenails
One effective remedy is to soak your toe in warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times daily, to reduce the inflammation and pain from the ingrown toenail. After soaking, gently push back the skin from the edge of the nail with a clean cotton ball or a small piece of dental floss. This action will help to prevent the nail from growing into the skin. However, be careful not to trim the nail too short, as this can worsen the problem. You can also use an antibiotic cream or ointment on the affected area to prevent infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen can also reduce pain and inflammation. If the ingrown toenail is severe, your doctor may need to perform a minor surgical procedure to remove the portion of the nail that is causing the problem.
For more information about ingrown toenails, call the Hudson Valley Foot Associates office or schedule an appointment online.