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What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?

Monday, 04 November 2019 00:00

The skin on the sides of the toenail may look red and inflamed if an ingrown toenail is present. Ingrown toenails occur as a result of the nail growing into the skin, and if left untreated, may become infected. There are a variety of reasons why ingrown toenails may develop including: wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in, having a severe fungal infection, or having specific genetic factors. There is typically pain that is associated with this ailment, and drainage may be apparent from a serious infection. Some patients can find relief when the foot is soaked in warm water. This may make it easier to partially pry the affected skin away from the nail. There are methods that can be implemented which can help to prevent this painful condition. These methods include trimming the toenails straight across and wearing shoes that have ample room. If you are afflicted with an ingrown toenail, it is strongly suggested that you consult with a podiatrist as quickly as possible so the correct treatment can begin.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact Maria Buitrago, DPM of Foot Surgery Specialists of Texas. 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 Houston, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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