Ingrown toenails happen when the toenail grows down instead of out, leading it to dig into the surrounding skin. Hence why they’re normally very uncomfortable. This most commonly happens in the big toes, and can be caused by anything that leaves the nail deformed. “Common causes include ill-fitting shoes where the toes are cramped within the shoe, trauma to the nail (i.e., a fallen object or collision/impact) causing nail deformity, and nail fungus resulting in thickened nails,” Quinton Yeldell, DPM, founder of foot care brand Southern Hospitality, tells SELF.
foot type can also make you more prone to ingrowns. Flat feet can make it harder to find shoes with the right fit, and repeatedly wearing shoes that don’t fit and leave your toes banging against the front can lead to ingrown nails, Yeldell says. Other conditions, like bunions, can also increase the amount of trauma your poor little toes endure. “Ingrown nails that show signs of infection (pain, swelling, redness, and discharge) should be treated by a podiatrist immediately,” says Yeldell. Messing with it on your own will only make matters worse. If you’re questioning whether or not you can handle it on your own, don’t. Let a podiatrist take care of it.
At our Toronto foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics we practice conservative foot care where we avoid surgery and medications whenever possible. The only surgery that we ever do is ingrown toenail surgery. We would never consider cosmetic foot surgery or bunion surgery unless the patient is unable to walk due to the pain.
Brought to you by Dr. John A. Hardy, owner of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics.