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Can Ingrown Toenails Become Infected?

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 00:00

A painful foot condition that is known as an ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin. It can happen as a result of wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in, or from trimming the toenails incorrectly. The symptoms that are generally associated with this ailment can include pain and discomfort, swelling, and the affected area may appear to be red. In severe cases, the ingrown toenail may ooze a discharge, and this needs to be treated immediately to help prevent infection. Patients who have ingrown toenails may find moderate relief when the toe is soaked in warm water. This may make it easier to push the skin away from the nail with a piece of cotton. Additionally, it may help to wear shoes that have an open toe area, which can prevent pressure on the toe from being exerted. If you are afflicted with this condition, it is strongly suggested that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can properly treat ingrown toenails.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Eric Simmons of InStride Foot & Ankle Center of Durham. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Durham, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
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