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Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when one or both sides of the nail break through and grow into the skin of the toe rather than over it, typically affecting the big toe. As a result, pain and inflammation will occur. Ingrown toenails are most commonly characterized by swelling, redness, liquid or pus discharge and a warm sensation from the affected area. Fortunately, when detected early, you can generally treat the ingrown toenail successfully home. Left untreated, however, the ingrown toenail can progress to a serious infection. Your podiatrist in Margate and Boca Raton can help relieve your painful ingrown toenail.

There are various factors that can cause ingrown toenails to develop. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is poor nail trimming. When nails are cut too short the nail may grow back into the skin. And when nails are rounded rather than cut straight across, the corners of the nail can dig into the skin.

Other causes of ingrown toenails are tight fitting shoes that can cause the toes to be compressed and the nail to grow into the skin. Damage to the nail caused by trauma or repetitive damage can also cause your nail to penetrate the skin.

Treatment for an Ingrown Toenail

In its earliest stage, an ingrown toenail can generally be cared for and successfully treated from home. Treat your ingrown as soon as it is detected.

oSoak your foot in warm water several times a day to relieve swelling and soreness
oWash and dry your foot to keep the affected area clean
oPlace a small piece of cotton under the ingrown edge of the nail after each soaking to help the nail grow above the edge of the skin
oAvoid wearing tight shoes and wear open-toed sandals if possible

Home treatment is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected, or for those who have medical conditions that put feet at high risk, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation. When excessive swelling, pain or discharge is present, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by your podiatrist in Margate and Boca Raton.

Basic Prevention for Ingrown Toenails

By taking a few simple precautions, you can help prevent ingrown toenails.

oKeep your feet clean and dry as this prevents bacteria-formation
oWear proper fitting shoes that allow for adequate toe room
oTrim your toenails straight across to prevent curving and digging of the toenail into the skin

An ingrown toenail may seem like a minor condition, but when the ingrown progresses to infection, the minor condition can become a serious problem fast. The key to avoiding ingrown toenails is to prevent them from occurring. Inspect your feet daily, and if you detect a problem, visit your Margate and Boca Raton, FL podiatrist for a careful evaluation and recommended treatment.

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