Ingrown toenails occur when the edge, or the corner, of a nail grows downward into the skin, causing inflammation and pain. They more commonly affect adult men, but women, and occasionally adolescents and children, can also suffer from the condition. The big toe is the most likely to be affected, followed by the little toe. Ingrown toenails can have a number of causes, including –
- Shoes that are too tight. Very pointed shoes and high heels push the toes together and can cause a nail to grow into the skin.
- Injury to the end of a toe and the nail, especially if repeated, can cause the nail to grow imperfectly and result in an ingrown toenail.
- Incorrect trimming of nails can alter the way they grow and cause a nail to become ingrown.
- Certain fungal infections can cause thickening and widening of nails, resulting in improper growing and ingrown nails.
- Ingrown toenails may be genetic. If someone in your family suffers from ingrown toenails, it increases your chances of getting one.
In addition to causing pain and discomfort, ingrown toenails left untreated can cause an infection, and even an abscess, in the affected toe, which will require the attention of your doctor or medical professional.
Here are 12 things you can do to treat an ingrown toenail:
1. Wear Sensible Shoes
If you have an ingrown toenail, wearing tightly fitting and high heeled shoes will aggravate the condition. In fact, the ingrown toenail may be a result of wearing the wrong shoes in the first place. Try wearing open toed shoes or sandals that will not put pressure on the toe and aggravate the condition. Whenever possible, walk around barefoot and expose the affected toe to the sun. This will stimulate blood flow, and the air flow around the toe and the sunshine will help to prevent infection and speed up healing.