Whether you cut your toenails short or leave them a bit too long, keeping your toes and toenails healthy can be quite the challenge. Foot fungus, spending a lot of time on your feet, and conditions like diabetes can all affect the health of your toenails in some way, leading to discomfort and pain. But more often than not, the most common toenail condition we see in our Arlington podiatrist’s office is the ingrown toenail.

It hurts just to think about it, doesn’t it? Ingrown toenails can be a nuisance, but fortunately, they’re easy to treat and easier to avoid. In this blog, AllCare Foot & Ankle Center will help you understand the causes of ingrown toenails, how to treat them, and how to avoid them in the first place.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail (known as onychocryptosis) is a condition where a toenail grows into the flesh of the toe. This condition usually affects the big toe of the foot, and can cause pain, discomfort, redness, swelling, bleeding, and even make walking difficult in certain circumstances. There are more than 3 million cases of ingrown toenails reported each year, most of which can be treated by wearing comfortable shoes, trimming toenails straight across without rounded corners, and occasionally, by antibiotics to treat more severe infections.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

When many ingrown toenails are caused by tight, constricting footwear, impact-related foot injuries, infections, and poor foot structure, a large percentage of ingrown toenails are caused by improper trimming of the toenails. By trimming your toenails super short and rounding the corners, your toenails can become slightly sharp on the sides, causing rubbing, irritation, and digging of the toenail into the flesh. Toenails cut in this fashion also have a higher chance of warping, which can lead to directional growth that causes digging as well.

How do I avoid ingrown toenails?

For some, the occasional ingrown toenail might be unavoidable—this condition can be hereditary, and some feet are more prone to ingrown toenails than others. However, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails, other than just proper toenail trimming. Leaving nails a little bit longer than usual might seem uncomfortable at first, but it dramatically decreases the chances of developing an ingrown toenail. Keeping feet clean is crucial for avoiding ingrown toenails (as well as a large majority of other foot infections and problems), and wearing socks and shoes that fit properly will keep pressure off your toes that can often cause this condition.

Talk To Your Arlington Podiatrist

If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from an ingrown toenail, or seem to have ingrown toenails frequently, it’s time to take action. The podiatry team at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center is happy to help you with your ingrown toenail issues so you can get back on your fit and live a happier, healthier life. With locations in Arlington and Dallas proper, you can always find foot care that’s convenient for you. Schedule an appointment today!