Ingrown toenails are a common problem that can be uncomfortable and sometimes lead to severe infections. They usually happen due to wearing tight shoes or not cutting your nails correctly. Some people also develop ingrown toenails due to changes in the shape of the toe, previous nail damage, or diseases that affect the skin and nails. Early on, an ingrown toenail may be painful but is not usually serious. As it becomes more severe, there is a risk of developing cellulitis (a bacterial infection), which can cause your foot to swell. An extreme case of cellulitis may require antibiotics and possibly hospitalization. Even if you don’t have cellulitis, an ingrown toenail can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to walk. If you have an ingrown toenail, you need to see a specialist in treating an ingrown toenail in Bakersfield for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of an Ingrown Toenail
There are many possible causes of ingrown toenails. Some of the most common risk factors include wearing shoes that don’t fit adequately, such as those that point your toes too far down. This can crowd and bend your toenails into the sides of your nail bed, creating a sharp edge that digs into your skin as it grows.
Injury to the toe. Banging your toes or stubbing them can lead to an ingrown toenail, especially if you have other risk factors. Thick nails are also a common cause of ingrown toenails because they’re more likely to grow into the surrounding tissue. Other causes include poorly aligned nail cuts and changes in the shape of the toe.
Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail
There are often no symptoms in the early stages of an ingrown toenail. Your nail may look like it’s growing into the side of your toe, but usually, it doesn’t hurt unless you bump the sharp edge of the nail against something. As the problem progresses and there is more pressure on your skin from trapped nails, you might feel pain along with swelling, redness, and irritation.
Treatment for an Ingrown Toenail
You usually don’t need any special treatment in the early stages of an ingrown toenail because it often heals on its own as your nails grow out. In some cases, a doctor may be able to push the nail back into place with a tool. If the nail starts growing back into your skin, early treatment with medication is essential to reduce pain and swelling.
If you have complications such as cellulitis or if the ingrown toenail has gone on for a very long time without treatment, your doctor may need to operate. Some people prefer to wait until they’re older and have thinner nails that don’t dig into the skin as quickly.
In summary, ingrown toenails are a prevalent problem that can lead to severe infection if not treated in time. Early on, an ingrown toenail may be painful but is not usually serious. As it becomes more severe, there is a risk of developing cellulitis, which can cause your foot to swell. An extreme case of cellulitis may require antibiotics and possibly hospitalization. It’s best to consult a podiatrist if you think you have an ingrown toenail or other foot problems.