Toenails are supposed to protect your toes, not put them in harm’s way! Sometimes, though, your nails don’t grow as they should, and the surrounding skin gets punctured from the corners of your nails digging into the flesh – ouch! Not only can this be painful, but it can lead to infection. So why do toenails that serve as protective barriers suddenly turn against you (and into your skin)?
There are several reasons why ingrown toenails can occur:
- Too crowded. Toes that are squished together inside shoes that are too tight are at an increased risk of developing ingrown toenails, as the small space forces them to grow abnormally.
- Improper trimming. Cutting toenails too short or curving the corners can invite the nail to grow into the skin.
- Trauma to the toe. Dropping something on your toe or sustaining some other type of trauma can cause the nail to grow incorrectly and become ingrown.
- A fungus has found you. Fungal toenail infections can cause toenails to become misshapen and distorted, growing into the skin instead of over it.
- Thanks to Mom and Dad. Yes, unfortunately, you could have inherited unusually curved toenails that make you prone to the problem!
You can help curtail overly curving nails by trimming them straight across and never rounding off the corners. Keep nails even with the tips of your toes, too. Stick with shoes that give your toes plenty of wiggle room and make sure they’re steel-toed if your job entails heavy-lifting.
If you do have a toenail that becomes ingrown and is irritated, red, swollen, tender, and painful, not to worry -- we can help you go from “Ouch!” to “Ahhhhh.” Depending on the severity of the condition, we can lift the nail, partially remove just the problem area, or remove the nail completely if it is a repeating offender. Find out more or call to make an appointment at our Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX office by dialing (512) 593-2949.