Causes of ingrown toenails
Ingrown toenails would be one of the more common nail complaints treated by podiatrist’s. Here are some common causes:
1) Wearing ill-fitting footwear: Pressure from a shoe with a tight or narrow toe box can drive the nailplate into the sulci (commonly referred to as nail fold or quick). This can be a source of great discomfort and can be relieved through avoiding the offending footwear. In cases where the stress from the shoe has been long standing an infection may have developed which will require podiatric intervention.
2) Cutting the nails to short: When the nails are cut to short as they regrow they can become caught or barbed in the skin of the sulci. Given time the nail can often return to a length that allows it to be be trimmed straight across. If pain or infection prevents this from occurring podiatric intervention will be required.
3) Trauma: An acute traumatic event may lead to change in the characteristics of the nail. If these changes cause recurrent ingrowns with or without infection podiatric intervention will be required.
4) The ageing process: Unfortunately as some people age their nails change in a manner the increases the likelihood of suffering an ingrown toenail. Often these changes are mild and can be attended to by the individual or a friend/relative. If discomfort becomes unmanageable or infection occurs podiatric intervention will be required.
5) Involuted toenail: Ideally the nail plate should be slightly curved in a transverse sense. If the nail increases its curvature it becomes what is referred to as involuted nail. These nails increase the likelihood of ingrowns and infection. If this occurs podiatric intevention will be required.
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Posted by Luke Bortolussi: Bachelor of Applied Science (Podiatry)