Ingrown toenails cause discomfort, and they may become infected if left untreated. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail starts to grow into the nail groove, which can cause significant pain and discomfort.
• Wearing badly-fitting shoes usually causes ingrown toenails. The pressure from shoes that are too narrow at the top or too tight can put extra pressure on the toes.
• Other causes include toenails that are not trimmed properly, such as cutting the toenails too short or trauma to the feet due to activity including running. Having a family history of ingrown toenails can also increase a person’s risk.
• Ingrown toenails will cause redness, swelling, pain, or even drainage from the toenail, which can indicate that an infection is present.
• There are several ways to treat and prevent ingrown toenails, including:
• Washing the feet with antibacterial soap and keeping them clean and dry.
• Cutting the toenails straight across after a bath when the nails are soft.
• Avoiding cutting the nails in a rounded pattern, as it can increase the risk of inward growth.
• Wearing shoes that fit well and do not have a pointy tip.
• If the toenail is infected or at-home care does not improve the condition, a person should see a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist may need to remove a portion of the toenail and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.