Ingrown toenails are a common problem, and one that is not always in need of a podiatrist’s help. That doesn’t mean we don’t see a lot of ingrown nails that do need our help, though. In fact, we typically conduct more than 250 ingrown toenail procedures each year when action needs to be taken, and we have plenty of happy patients to account for it!
What causes ingrown toenails?
There are several ways that the corner or side of a toenail can start to dig inward into the neighboring flesh of the toe. Common causes of ingrown toenails include:
- Genetics. Sometimes, someone is born with nails that are unusually curved, making them more likely to become ingrown. If your family has a history of the condition, you might be a part of it too.
- Improperly cutting your toenails. Nails that are clipped too short or in an overly curved manner are more likely to become ingrown. Always leave some white at the edge of your toenail, and make a rather straight cut.
- A toenail injury. Damage to the nail can cause it to grow irregularly.
- Poor shoe choices. Shoes that are too tight or have a small toe box can cause the toes to become crowded, forcing nails to grow more downward.
An ingrown nail will often be sore or tender along an affected side, with some redness and swelling.
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