What is an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails most often affect the big toe, causing pain under the toenail of the big toe, but they can occur in other toes as well. They are common, and they occur when the side or the corner of a toenail grows into the flesh. This results in redness, swelling, and pain in the soft skin of the toe. In addition, it can cause an infection.
Sometimes, ingrown toenails can be self-treated, but if signs of infection are present or if the ingrown toenail is extremely painful, a physician should be consulted.
People who have diabetes or conditions that reduce blood flow to the feet are at increased risk for ingrown toenails.
Causes of ingrown toenails
Among the most common causes of an ingrown toenail are:
- Wearing footwear that is too tight and crowds the toes
- Cutting the toenails too short can cause ingrown toenails
- Not cutting the toenails straight across
- Injuries to the toenails can cause ingrown toenails
- Unusually shaped toenails (curved)
It is possible that if untreated, the condition causing the ingrown toenail can lead to permanent changes in the tissue, causing more discomfort, more swelling, and even infection.