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Causes and Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 00:00

One of the most painful, not to mention annoying, skin irritations is an ingrown toenail. It is simply the result of the nail, commonly on the big toe, growing into the skin that surrounds it. Ingrown toenails can be the result of cutting the nails too short, or, ironically, by letting them grow too long. Nails that are ripped or torn, or nails that are cut into a rounded shape, also can cause ingrown toenails. They cause pain and sometimes redness, especially if the toes are encased in shoes that are too tight in the toe box. Improperly fitting shoes, along with toe injuries, and repetitive activity are among other causes of ingrown toenails. Cutting toenails straight across and soaking the feet in a salt-water bath a few times a day can help to relieve the pain. However if the ingrown toenail pain increases, becomes warm to the touch, or if there is a buildup of pus and an unpleasant odor, it may be infected. This would be a good time to consult with a podiatrist for immediate treatment. 

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Dr. Steven Sheridan of Ankle & Foot Specialty Clinics. 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.


  • 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


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.


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 Sandusky, MI . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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