If you have a corner of a toenail that seems to be growing into the skin of the nail, you might have what is called an ingrown toenail. This is not a serious or unusual condition, but it is one you shouldn't ignore or it could get worse. Here are some things to know about ingrown toenails.
A Variety of Things Cause Ingrown Toenails
There are a variety of different things that can lead to having ingrown toenails. Prevention is important since you don't want to risk having an ingrown toenails that might get infected. One of the more common reasons for this occurrence is when you cut your toenails a little too short. This might cause some of the skin to grow over the corners of the nail, which can then lead to the nail growing into the skin, leading to ingrown toenails. You may also get them if you rip or tear your toenails instead of cutting them properly. If you wear shoes that don't fit you right, especially if they are too tight, you could get ingrown toenails more easily. You are also at a higher risk for them if you have had a toe injury that caused the complete loss of one of your toenails.
You Might Have Pain and Discomfort
While some ingrown toenails don't have many signs and symptoms, many of them do cause some discomfort. You will often have pain around the toenails and where the nail is growing into the skin. The pain might worsen when pressure is put on the area, such as while wearing shoes. Another common symptom of having an ingrown toenail is when the nail itself is red or the skin appears swollen around the nail.
Some Treatments Can Be Performed at Home
If you think you have an ingrown toenail, you can start treating it at home. You need the nail to be soft when you cut it, so start by soaking the foot in a foot bath, a bucket with warm water, or in the bathtub. After it has been soaking in the water, the inflammation and swelling should be reduced and the nail is soft. At this point, you can try cutting just the edge of the nail, though you need to be careful not to cut too much or it will only come back the same way. Adding Epsom salts to the bath water can also help with irritation and inflammation of the area.
You Might Need Medical Assistance
In some cases, it is best that you see a podiatrist for treatment. They will help remove the part of the nail that is breaking through the skin and trim it in a way that this doesn't happen again. You should also seek treatment from a doctor if you show signs of infection, such as drainage from the area, skin or a nail that feels warm to the touch, or red and swollen skin around the nail. Talk to a group like Lincoln Park Podiatry for more help.