The Most Common Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Why are some people more likely to get ingrown toenails than others?

Everyone knows the truth to the saying “when your feet hurt, your whole body hurts”. It is something that we all agree on because there is a good chance that we have all experienced tired, sore or achy feet at one time or another. When the pain is the result of an ingrown toenail, however, the level of discomfort can reach a state where it may be nearly all-consuming. Avoiding this painful condition and understanding its causes should be high on everyone’s list, especially those for whom this seems to be a recurring issue.

While the question of why some people tend to have more problems with ingrown toenails than others may not have a simple answer, the condition itself is easy to identify. As the nail grows to the side, as well as in length, it pierces the skin creating a very painful area. This may manifest in the end of the toe becoming inflamed, fluid build-up, the appearance of pus and even bleeding.

There are many causes of ingrown toenails. Some people are actually genetically predisposed, inheriting the trait from one or both parents, but that seems to be less of a factor than certain behaviors.

Common Causes for Developing Ingrown Toenails

  • Cutting nails too short or not cutting them straight across
  • Toenails that have an irregular shape or a tendency to curve
  • Overexposure to moisture or inadequate hygiene practices that result in feet not being kept dry and clean
  • Poor posture leading to uneven pressure on a particular area of the foot
  • Injury or trauma to the toe area, like seriously stubbing it or a heavy object being dropped on it
  • Repetitive contact, such as in sports activities like soccer where a ball is kicked repeatedly or kick boxing
  • Ill-fitting footwear, either shoes, socks or stockings, that fit too tightly in the toe area

Properly Fitting Footwear Key to Preventing Ingrown Toenails

What is believed to be the most common cause and the most important to address is footwear that does not fit properly or socks and stockings that are too tight. Young people, especially, need to have their shoes checked often because of growth spurts that can quickly lead to toes being crammed into a space that is no longer large enough.

Your number one line of defense is to be proactive. Pay attention to warning signs, such as pain, redness or apparent fluid build-up. Make sure you are wearing the right shoe for your foot and activity. Last, but not least, combine awareness with regular visits to your foot care professional.

It only takes one experience with an ingrown toenail to understand the impact that it can have on everything else that may be happening in your day. Let the professionals at Country Foot Care not only help you address any issues you may be having but also guide you in best preventative practices. Our Long Island podiatry offices are conveniently located in Mineola, Patchogue and Williston Park, and you can schedule an appointment by simply clicking here to use our online form or giving us a call at (516) 741-3338.

Posted in: Ingrown Nails