Ouch! That redness and swelling in the corner of your nail can be extremely painful. If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So what causes ingrown toenails in the first place?
Ingrown toenails are a common condition where the corner or side of a toenail grows into soft flesh. This can cause severe pain, redness, swelling, and, in some cases, an infection. Ingrown toenails typically affect your big toe.
In many instances, you can take care of ingrown toenails on your own. However, if you are experiencing severe pain or the pain is spreading, you should contact your doctor to help you avoid complications of ingrown toenails.
What causes ingrown toenails?
From the National Health Services (NHS), ingrown toenails occur in both men and women. They are more common in people with sweaty feet, such as teenagers or active adults. Older people tend to be at higher risk since toenails thicken with age.
Causes of ingrown toenail can include:
- Cutting toenails improperly. (Cut straight across, since angling the sides of the nail can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.)
- Naturally curved toenails
- Wearing poor fitting footwear and socks
- Injury related
- Inadequate foot hygiene, excessive moisture
- Genetic predisposition
Certain athletic activities can make you especially prone to getting ingrown toenails you strike an object with your feet, such as soccer or football, dancing, and martial arts. This can cause toenail damage and increase your risk of ingrown toenails.
Do ingrown toenails go away?
Ingrown toenails left untreated usually cause a lot of pain can get infected and, in the worst situations, can actually lead to bone infections and loss of the toe.
Ingrown nails do not usually go away without cutting the ingrown out. However, in some cases, an ingrown toenail can go away on its own if you trim a small piece out of the corner.
For those with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, an ingrown toenail should never be left untreated. However, there are treatments for ingrown nail that are quick and generally painless.
How do I stop my ingrown toenail from coming back?
If ingrown toenails keep coming back over and over, it’s clear that something must be done. What causes ingrown toenails is typically your hygiene habits or physical activities that impact the toe areas. In some cases, minor surgery is required to provide a more permanent solution.
How can I cure an ingrown toenail?
In most cases, ingrown toenails can be treated at home if you’re able to get under the part of the nail that’s digging into your skin. However, this procedure can be quite painful.
Don’t forcibly pull on your nail. Starting with clean hands, use a piece of dental floss to lift the skin gently.