Toenails are parts of your body that you probably don’t think about often. Then there’s the day you hop out of bed and feel like you just stubbed your big toe, but you didn’t. You look down and notice your toe looks red and the toenail is growing into the skin around the toe.
What should you do now? Are ingrown toenails dangerous?
Don’t panic, says Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt, our skilled podiatrists at Apple Podiatry Group. Ingrown toenails are common. In fact, about 20% of the population will experience an ingrown toenail at some point.
We offer our advice on ingrown toenails, and invite you to come in for treatment if an ingrown toenail is causing you pain.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Let’s talk about why ingrown toenails happen in the first place. Although an ingrown nail can happen as a result of trauma, like dropping something heavy on your toe or stubbing your toe, typically ingrown toenails result from incorrectly trimming your nails – either rounding off the edges or cutting them too short.
Ingrown toenails can also develop if you wear shoes that are too tight and don’t allow your toes to rest comfortably in your shoes. The most common culprits in this situation are shoes whose toe box is too narrow or pointy.
Diabetes puts you at a higher risk for infections
The best way to answer whether ingrown toenails are dangerous is to talk about infections. Since the nail grows into the surrounding skin, bacteria may enter that broken skin and cause an infection.
People who have diabetes or circulation issues are not only more prone to infections than the general population, but their healing properties are usually compromised – so ingrown toenails can be dangerous for them. If you have diabetes or are immunocompromised, contact us at the first sign of an ingrown toenail.
Watch for redness and pus
If you don’t have diabetes or an underlying medical condition, preventing your ingrown toenail from developing an infection is still Job 1. Keep in mind that it isn’t unusual to have redness in the skin around the toenail. But if it feels warm or is accompanied by pus or a discharge, call us right away.
Fever and swelling
If you develop a fever and swelling, you may be well on your way to an infection. Stopping the infection from progressing is crucial at this point. Book an appointment with us right away. If left untreated, an infection caused by an ingrown toenail can cause a serious bone infection in the big toe.
If you have an ingrown toenail and are concerned about infection or need treatment for the condition, contact Apple Podiatry Group. Book an appointment right now, or call one of our offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas.