Ingrown Nails: Primary Causes + Treatment

May 11, 2023
Ingrown Nails: Primary Causes + Treatment

Whether you’ve experienced an accidental ingrown nail or you have chronic ingrown nail-related issues, you know how uncomfortable they can be! That’s why it’s best to get familiar with the condition to navigate healing and treatment in a proactive and pain-free way. 

Learning the common causes and treatments for ingrown nails may help you avoid an unwanted ingrown nail. Let’s explore common treatment options as well as some avoidable mistakes that may help prevent future ingrown nails.

What is an Ingrown Toe Nail? 

Though the name “Ingrown Nail” may sound self-explanatory, we’re here to specify the details! An ingrown toe nail occurs when the toe or fingernail begins to grow into the surrounding area of the nail bed. 

Ingrown nails are often painful creating inflammation, soreness, and sometimes infection in the affected area. When an ingrown nail occurs, simple tasks like walking or putting pressure on the infected toe or fingernail become challenging. And without proper treatment, it’s pain-inducing and sometimes debilitating. 

Common Causes of Ingrown Nails

Ingrown nails can occur for a variety of reasons, some being accidental, and others genetically unavoidable. Here is a few ingrown toenail causes to become aware of to prevent unwanted flare-ups. 

  • Shoes with an overly tight or improper fit
  • A moist shoe, sock, or environment for the foot
  • Clipping the toenail with a rounded edge or a length that is too short (A straight edge that mirrors the tip of the toe is recommended) 
  • The spreading of bacteria via unsanitary clippers or nail trimmers
  • An accidental incident that traumatizes the toe, like a stub or item dropped on the nail
  • Shoes with elevated heels that cause more body weight to be placed on the toes

While it’s possible to avoid these common causes, other causes are sometimes out of our control. For example, individuals with hardened and thickened nails, or nails that curve with age may be more prone to experiencing ingrown toenails. 

Treatment Options for Ingrown Nails

For those currently experiencing an ingrown toe or fingernail, determining the right form of treatment is necessary and oftentimes urgent. Ingrown nails can be the source of considerable pain, which is why developing a treatment plan is so essential. Let’s cover the different types of treatment options available for an ingrown nail and what these treatments entail. 

At Home Treatment for Mild Ingrown Nails

If your ingrown nail seems to be mild, and isn't causing pain, you may be able to alleviate your ingrown nail at home. For at-home ingrown nail care, create a daily regimen that designates at least 20 minutes for soaking your ingrown nail. After soaking your nail, you can gently massage the skin of the affected area. Additionally, be sure to thoroughly dry the area when done. 

Podiatric Procedures

For more serious ingrown nails, you may be experiencing a great deal of pain. In this case, you may require a podiatric procedure. Specialists perform this procedure to treat ingrown nails which is called a partial nail avulsion. Before the procedure, the affected toe or finger will be injected with local anesthesia. The sliver or edge of the nail that is protruding into the skin will then be carefully removed, sanitized, and bandaged. After undergoing partial nail avulsion, patients typically resume activity the following day.  

Diablo Foot & Ankle: Your Walnut Creek Podiatrist

If you live in the Walnut Creek, California area and are experiencing an ingrown nail, Diablo Foot & Ankle is here to help. Contact the team today to schedule your appointment for comprehensive foot and ankle care. We’re here for you!

Common Podiatry Questions

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle.

What does a Podiatrist treat?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the feet. They can treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.

What’s the difference between a Podiatrist and Orthopedist?

A Podiatrist and Orthopedist are very similar to each other in many ways. They use most of the same tools and treat a lot of the same conditions. The main difference between the two is their medical training. Podiatrists are trained exclusively on the foot and ankle, whereas the Orthopedic is trained on the whole body with an additional year of training on the foot and ankle.

Where are your Podiatry clinics located?

At Diablo Foot & Ankle, we treat our foot and ankle patients in two main clinic locations in Walnut Creek and in Antioch California. Dr. Eman Elmi and Dr. Shayan Esspoor are Board Certified Podiatrists who specialize in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

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