Sometimes the smallest of injuries can be the most painful. Such is the case with ingrown toenails. If you’ve ever had one, you know the intensity of the discomfort they can cause and the extra annoyance of the toenail fungus that sometimes come along with them.
What is an Ingrown Nail?
When a toenail grows in an unusual pattern or direction, it can begin to dig into the skin surrounding the nail. This is referred to as an ingrown nail. At the point that the nail has grown outside of the natural nail bed, the toe itself perceives the nail to be a foreign body. Although not every ingrown nail results in an infection, many do.
Infections occur when bacteria builds up in the area where the nail has punctured the crease of the skin. It won’t be difficult to identify if your ingrown nail has caused an infection. As in the case of many other kinds of infections, the body will usually react in response to being “attacked” by:
producing visible redness
becoming inflamed and swollen
drainage at the site of the nail bed foot pain that can range from general discomfort to intense throbbing
In fact, in some patients with ingrown toe nails and an associated infection, the pain is so great that it impairs the patient’s ability to wear shoes and/or even to walk.
In most ingrown toenail patients, the condition is caused by either improper trimming of the nail or because of tight fitting shoes. Sometimes ingrown nails occur because of a natural growth pattern or simply because of genetics, but in other cases, they result from the development of a fungus beneath the nail.
An injury to the nail bed or nail plate may facilitate the growth of toenail fungus pain and that fungus can then, in turn, cause unusual nail growth that eventually leads to an ingrown toenail.
Go to Rothman Institute
An ingrown toenail can seem like a small, insignificant injury, but without proper care, it is the kind of condition that will fester( progress) and grow worse over time. Infection may spread, pain may increase and any associated toenail fungus may intensify.
The foot and ankle team at Rothman Institute is experienced with a wide variety of foot pain. There is no injury too small or too large for our physicians. No matter what the injury, they always approach patient care with the same overarching goal: to relieve pain, restore mobility and return the patient to a healthy, active lifestyle.