Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem that can rapidly worsen if not treated right away. An ingrown toenail grows into the skin of the toenail groove, instead of growing on top of the skin of the toenail groove. Keep reading to discover some of the common causes of ingrown toenails and how your podiatrist can care for them to relieve pain, and treat & prevent infection.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

  • Clipping toenails too short or incompletely rounding their corners when you cut or file them can lead to the toenail growing into the skin of your toe.
  • Thicker toenails may be more likely to become ingrown if cut improperly.
  • Tearing off an incompletely cut-through toenail at its corners puts you at very high risk of developing an ingrown toenail.
  • Pressure exerted by tight shoes can cause ingrown and other toenail problems, especially if you are an athlete.

Injury can be a cause of an ingrown toenail. Heredity can play a role. If a parent or close relative has had ingrown toenails you may be predisposed to developing them.

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

Treatment for ingrown toenails focuses on eliminating the ingrown nail and treating any infection and swelling it may have caused. If you have an ingrown toenail that is not infected (not red, not swollen, not draining), you can soften the toe by soaking your foot in warm soapy water for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day. As the nail grows out, trim it straight across; do not “dig” into the corners trying to get “at the root”. Doing so will only cause problems later.

If you cannot treat your ingrown toenail at home or it appears to be infected (it red or swollen or draining) visit a podiatrist. You may be given medication to treat the infection before it causes a bigger problem. A podiatrist can also painlessly remove the corner part of the toenail that is causing the problem. This is done painlessly and quickly in the office.

Diabetics should not be cutting their own toenails. Those with circulation problems or nerve problems should also not cut their own toenails.

People with diabetes, circulation disease, nerve disease, immune disease and in general those with any kind of compromised general health condition should not cut their own toenails. They should be seen by their podiatrist for regular examinations and professional toenail and foot care. Persons with these conditions should also not go to a nail salon to have their “toenails done”. Nail salon personnel, while well-intended, are neither medically trained to recognize nor to treat the foot health problems of persons with these kinds of conditions and can potentially cause more harm.

If you have had a history of an ingrown toenail there is a painless routine to permanently cure the ingrown toenail resulting in . . . no more ingrown toenail! Dr. Stanley J. Zawada of the FAMILY FOOT CENTER offers care of ingrown toenails, bunions, warts, corns, heel pain, foot pain, toe pain, and more.

FAMILY FOOT CENTER serves North Queens, North Flushing, College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today by calling (718) 767-5555 to schedule your appointment. Or call us to schedule your free foot health consultation for you, your family and friends. Find additional information about common foot conditions on our blog. Visit us on Facebook