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Improper Trimming Can Lead to Ingrowing Toenails
Getting a bit overzealous trimming your toenails can lead to the unpleasantness of ingrowing toenails. Ingrowing toenails occur when the edge of the nail grows directly into the surrounding tissue of the toe, causing pain and discomfort. ingrown toenail.
What Causes Ingrowing Toenails to Develop?
Ingrowing toenails develop when toenails are improperly trimmed, leaving the nail plate too far from its proper edge. This tender skin become inflamed, and pressure on the toe from shoes becomes painful.

Other causes of ingrowing toenails can include:
  • Injury, such as stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on.
  • Ill-fitting shoes that put pressure on the inside edge of the big toe.
  • Running and the accompanying pounding and pressure on toes from shoes that are too short.
  • Bed sheets tucked too tightly around toes.

How to Know if You Have Ingrowing Toenails
You can first spot ingrowing toenails directly after trimming your toenails. If the toenails look like they have been cut back too far, exposing the pink tissue around the edge, you may have ingrowing toenails. Over time, you may develop a feeling of discomfort and tenderness, and the tissue around the edge may become red and swollen. As the ingrowing toenails continue to grow into the surrounding tissue, pain becomes more pronounced, making walking and even sitting difficult.

People suffering from ingrowing toenails may also notice the following:
  • The nails will not “grow out” on their own to correct the situation.
  • Trimming the nails back as they grow becomes difficult and painful.
  • Contact with shoes and socks can cause intense soreness in the spot where you have ingrowing toenails.
Relieve Discomfort from Ingrowing Toenails and Prevent Infection
The simplest way to eliminate ingrowing toenails is to take extra care when cutting your toenails. Pay attention to the natural line of the nail, and trim the nail straight across.

Also try following these suggestions to take care of ingrowing toenails, or to avoid developing ingrowing toenails in the future:
  • Use a proper toenail clipper to avoid slipups and mishaps.
  • Never dig down into the corners of the nail.
  • Wear appropriate fitting shoes with plenty of room in the toe box (especially if you already have ingrowing toenails).
  • Soak affected feet to keep them clean and antiseptic.
  • Apply a mild antiseptic.

People can often make ingrowing toenails worse in an attempt to make it better. As the ingrowing toenails begins to cut into the skin, people try to correct the situation by cutting away the extended nail; yet this only exacerbates the situation, leading to even deeper imbedding of the ingrowing toenails into the tender flesh. “Bathroom surgery” is definitely not the way to correct ingrowing toenails.

If you continue to develop ingrowing toenails, see a podiatrist to have the offending edges removed.

Information on foot, leg and lower body health conditions provided by The Podiatry Institute, dedicated to advancing the standard of care in podiatric medicine and its effects on muscoskeletal health. 
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FootSmart lower body health condition content pages describe general principles of healthcare that should not in any event be construed as specific instructions for individual consumers. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication or as a substitute for proper medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This healthcare content is for reference only and should not be used to determine treatment for specific medical conditions – only a healthcare provider can do that.

You should discuss the information provided with a podiatrist, physician or other licensed healthcare professional, and make sure to read any product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions and contraindications before administering or using any device, support, brace, compression hosiery, shoes intended for use by diabetics, skincare product, herb, vitamin or supplement discussed on this site.

Proper treatment of lower body health conditions depends upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to, your medical history, diet, lifestyle and medications that may be taking. Your healthcare provider can best assess and address your individual healthcare needs.
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