8 Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails can be caused by a variety of reasons. Ingrown toenails can be caused by wearing tight shoes, cutting toenails too short, not cutting nails straight across, injuring a toenail and having naturally curved toenails that are susceptible to growing under the skin.

Ingrown toenails occur when the edges or corners of a toenail grow within the surrounding skin. This problem initially causes redness and moves to puffiness. As the infection progresses, pus can begin to ooze out of it. Those with diabetes or poor circulation can suffer worse symptoms. Ultimately, any infection is a problem for the body. It may produce fever as the body attempts to resolve the infection.

Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe. At times, those affected can take care of their ingrown toenails at home, but some will need medical intervention. This is particularly true if the infection is bad and appears to be spreading. Those with diabetes and poor circulation should also see a doctor, as it is particularly difficult to heal from infections in the feet.

1. Pain

Pain from an ingrown toenail is caused by a few reasons. For starters, nails are hard and each time a person takes a step, the nail is pushed into the surrounding soft tissue. When pressure is taken off the foot, the nail recedes slightly. This friction can cause more discomfort. It’s difficult to avoid discomfort because it’s hard to avoid walking. To make matters worse, the toe will start to become red and inflamed as the body tries to remedy the situation, but this causes additional discomfort. The toe can become warm or hot to the touch. A swollen toe can make it extremely sore.

Discomfort can be relieved in a few ways. Take an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, to help with the pain. Using Epsom salt and other foot soaks can also help with discomfort. Avoid wearing tight shoes. Try to wear sandals to allow air to get to the ingrown toenail. Excessive moisture can cause additional infection and discomfort. Avoid extensive movement and exercise. You want to prevent pressure on your feet as much as possible.

If you’re able to gently lift the toenail away from the soft tissue, this can help alleviate some discomfort. It will still need to heal completely to be totally void of discomfort, but this helps take pressure off the toe.