Do you have pain on the side of your toe and it looks like the nail has grown into the skin? Although common, ingrown toenails can be extremely painful. Trying to put a shoe on or even walk barefoot can cause pain. If the ingrown toenail is not taken care of it can actually lead to an infection. What can be done to take care of the toenail? Do you need to call your podiatrist?
Known as onychocryptosis in the medical world, this painful condition can become chronic. Repeated episodes can lead to infections, redness, and swelling. There are a number of reasons as to why a person can suffer from an ingrown toenail. Some people have this problem because it is congenital. A great example of congenial would be those whose toenails are just too large. People who have toes that curl tend to have more episodes of ingrown toenails. Stubbing your toe or any other type of trauma can also cause ingrown toenails. Having your foot stepped on or dropping something heavy on the foot can cause the nail to become jammed or stuck in the skin. Runners often have problems with ingrown toenails due to the constant pounding on the feet on long runs.
Ingrown Toenail- Most Common Cause
The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting them wrong. If the toenails are cut wrong they can grow into the skin. Tight socks and shoes can also make matters worse because the toenail is being pushed in. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail and your toe is painful, swollen and red where the nail meets the skin, you may have an infection. Once the nail punctures the skin, it is the perfect port or entryway for germs that can cause infection. If the ingrown toenail is not treated the nail grows further under the skin and the infection can become much worse. The infection needs to be treated by your podiatrist and antibiotics. As soon as you notice that you have an ingrown toenail you should contact your foot doctor.
Until you can see your doctor the following tips will help to provide some relief:
- Soak the foot in warm water with Epsom salt added.
- Thoroughly dry your foot and make sure to get the area where it is painful.
- Cover painful area with a mild antiseptic.
- Put a bandage over the area.
- Wear socks and shoes that give the toes extra room.
It is important that you learn to cut your toenails properly. Holding your nail clippers, cut the nails straight across and make sure the corners of the nails are visible. If the nail is cut too short or the edges are rounded the nail will want to grow into the skin. Once the nail begins puncturing the skin you are on your way to an ingrown toenail and possible infection.
If you go to the salon to have a pedicure be sure your toenails are cut as described above. Another great tip when visiting the salon for your pedicure is to bring your own pedicure kit. Using your own kit will also reduce the risk of infection.