What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails can become sore very quickly. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is a poor nail-cutting technique. Nails that are cut too short or down the sides of the nail cause the nail to pierce the skin as it grows back. Nails should be cut following the natural curve of the nail and not down the sides.

Other common causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Poorly fitting shoes. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Ingrown toes are often caused by improperly fitting footwear. Shoes that are too narrow or too small can push the skin over the nail, forcing the nail to grow in.
  • Toe trauma. An injury to the toe that causes the nail to fall off or push the nail into the skin and can lead to ingrown nails.
  • Repeated activity. Sometimes, simply repeating the same activity — like the front foot in bowlers in cricket — can lead to ingrown toenails.
  • Redness and pain at the edge of the nail
  • Swelling and skin folding over the nail
  • Pus or fluid
  • Malodour

With something that seems as minor as an ingrown toenail, it may seem like overkill to visit the podiatrist. But once infection sets in, ingrown toenails can be very serious and almost always require medical attention.
What To Do

If you start to notice any of the signs of infection, like discharge or smell, contact your podiatrist. A podiatrist will determine what action will be taken on your nail. Often all that is required is to remove the embedded corner of the nail and to drain the pus or liquid that has built up in the skin. You may require a local anaesthetic.

If the nail persists in growing into the skin, slightly more drastic measures might be required. Certain cases involve removal of a larger portion of the nail, or even the entire nail permanently. The podiatrist will decide what course of action is best for your situation.

Andrew Maitland is a qualified podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic. Call us on 1300 821 893 or book online here today!