Chronic Ingrown Toenails: Causes & Treatment

Suffering through an ingrown toenail one time is bad enough, but dealing with ingrown toenails all the time is a whole different story. If you find yourself constantly wincing with discomfort as you walk, struggling with swelling, or battling with ingrown infections, it’s time to take charge of your foot health. Chronic ingrown toenails can interfere with your daily life, but they don’t have to. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour is here to help you, along with the rest of our experienced, dedicated team. This condition is technically referred to as “onychrocryptosis,” and we can assist you in preventing an treating it. Read on to learn more about the causes and treatments of chronic ingrown toenails. May you never have another!

Do You Have an Ingrown Toenail?

Basically, an ingrown toenail occurs when the nail begins to grow into the surrounding tissue rather than remaining next to it. You might experience the discomfort of an ingrown toenail without realizing what is actually occurring. You may be suffering from this condition if:

  • Your toenail takes on a curved appearance at the edges, or you cannot see the edge of part of the toenail
  • Your toe becomes inflamed around the nail
  • The side of your nail feels sensitive
  • Your toenail begins to look red around the edges
  • You notice a yellow color, pus, or a warm sensation in the surrounding skin (which are signs of infection)
  • The skin of your toenail begins to feel numb

If you experience any of the above, you may have an ingrown toenail. If you notice these symptoms often, this may be a chronic condition for you.

What Causes This Chronic Condition? 

Why would the nail begin to grow into the skin? Some of the most widespread sources of ingrown toenails include:

  • Improper grooming. At least once a month, you should cut your toenails across their entire width using a toenail clipper designed for this purpose. We’ve found that most of our patients who have ingrown toenails are not doing this. Using a pair of scissors or simply ripping the extending portion of the nail with your hand is not an appropriate technique. When you trim your toenails in an uneven manner, they can grow back into the flesh.
  • Toe trauma. If you’ve stubbed your toe particularly hard or suffered an injury to the foot, this might have nudged your nail in the wrong direction.
  • Constricting footwear. notes: “tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes” could cause or worsen ingrown toenails, forcing the nail to grow into the skin because it has nowhere else to go.
  • Foot shape. Although rare, your foot structure might impede healthy toenail growth. Mayo Clinic explains: “having unusually curved toenails” could be a cause.
  •  Toenail fungus. An infection under the nail bed could push the growing nail in a different direction or even begin to split it apart.

No matter the cause of your chronic ingrown toenails, Dr. LaMour and our team can pinpoint and treat it.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

We see and assist many patients with ingrown toenails every year. If grooming or improper footwear is the cause, Dr. LaMour may suggest a simple outpatient procedure to numb the toe, remove the ingrown segment of the nail, and bandage the toe to alleviate the discomfort and put the toenail on the right track. We may utilize this outpatient surgery for ingrown toenails in combination with any other appropriate treatments to repair your foot after an injury. If toenail fungus is the source, we can utilize our state-of-the-art Pinpointe™ FootLaser™ in combination with the above treatment. For foot structural issues, Dr. LaMour can perform a surgery to extract the root of the toenail. We will customize a treatment plan according to your unique needs and preferences.

We Can Help You

You don’t have to suffer through chronic ingrown toenails again and again! Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to schedule your appointment with Dr. LaMour.

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