Painful swelling and redness on the side of the big toe could very well be caused by an ingrown toenail. Find out how to treat and prevent this condition.
Causes and Treatments for Ingrown Toenails
That painful swelling and redness on the side of your big toe could very well be caused by an ingrown toenail. You may be wearing shoes that are too tight and constantly pressing your big toes into the side of your shoe. You may neglect your toenails and let them grow too long, causing them to curve into the skin. Whatever the cause, you’re in pain!
Fortunately, ingrown toenails can be prevented if you know the causes. If you’re already suffering from this ailment, there are treatments. Keep reading to find out more about treating and preventing ingrown toenails.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
If you understand the causes of ingrown toenails, you can help prevent them from happening. Some of the main causes are lack of footcare, trauma, and tight shoes.
First and foremost, if you don’t regularly cut your toenails, you’re asking for an ingrown nail! Your toenails grow in length, but they also grow wider. If you have a really long toenail, you can bet that it’s too wide, as well. The sides of the nail will start to cut into the skin around them, and that’s where the pain and inflammation comes in.
Trauma is another common cause of ingrown toenails, although many people may not know it. Even something as simple as stubbing your toe can cause an ingrown nail. Stubbing your toe or any other trauma can cause your toenails to grow irregularly, and if your toenail starts to grow diagonally (even slightly), it can cut into your skin and cause irritation.
Tight shoes are another common reason for ingrowns. Squishing your toes into a shoe that’s too small or too tight can bend your toenails over time. Soon, your toenails will start to grow into the surrounding skin. You may be attached to your favorite pair of shoes, but it they no longer fit, it’s important to let them go. An ingrown toenail causes pain, but it can also become infected and expose you to harmful bacteria.
Ingrown toenails are easily treated. The process is easier if the toenail hasn’t become infected, but it’s still something that a trip to a foot specialist can solve. In a minor situation, your podiatrist might suggest soaking your toes. In some major cases, surgery might be necessary. A podiatrist would start off by washing the area of the toe with an antibacterial solution. He or she would then cut into the skin on the side of the toe to extract the toenail. No matter the situation, speak to a podiatrist to find out the best treatment option.
One of the best ways to prevent ingrown toenails is to be barefoot as much as possible. It may sound silly, but it’s actually true. Ingrown toenails only exist within shoe-wearing cultures. So, the more you can kick off your shoes, the better!
Another important way to prevent ingrown toenails is to regularly see a foot specialist. A podiatrist can care for your feet well before the ingrown nail happens. If you’re in the Birmingham area and need a podiatrist, visit the Foot Specialists of Birmingham. We’re experts in dealing with ingrown toenails and just about any foot ailment that you might have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.