5 Common Misconceptions About Ingrown Toenails

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5 Common Misconceptions About Ingrown Toenails

Feet are an important part of how you stay balanced, walk, run, and jump, but you may overlook the role of your toes. Balance and flexibility are essential to how you move on your feet, and your toes help you absorb the impact of the force the ground has on you and help propel you forward.

This means that problems with your toes — including ingrown toenails — can affect your ability to stand or walk properly.

Ingrown toenails have a lot of different causes, but they’re also surrounded by many misconceptions. Let’s separate fact from fiction by exploring the basics of what ingrown toenails are, what causes them, and what people often get wrong about them.

If you’re struggling with foot problems like ingrown toenails, Dr. Mark Sharobeem and our team at the Manhattan Podiatry Group can help you get the treatment you need at our offices in the greater New York City area.

What is an ingrown toenail?

When the corner of a toenail grows inward into the skin, it’s called ingrown, and it causes discomfort, swelling, inflammation, and even an infection. And if you struggle with other health conditions that affect your feet, it can lead to complications.

What causes it?

The risk of a toenail becoming ingrown is higher if you:

  • Are in your teens (feet sweat more, leading to softer nails and skin)
  • Wear toe-constricting shoes
  • Cut your nails too short or round the corners
  • Have diabetes (more likely to have blood flow issues)

Common causes include injuries that affect the toenail and having curved toenails, nail infections, and certain medical conditions (diabetes, poor blood circulation, severe leg or foot nerve damage).

If you have diabetes, the complications can be more severe, due to the circulatory and nerve damage it can do in feet. It can cause minor injuries to become more serious, leading to cuts, scrapes and bruises to get infected more easily.

What do people get wrong about ingrown toenails?

There are a number of misconceptions about this condition, such as:

It goes away on its own

Since there are a number of ways you can develop this problem, there are ways we can manage it, but it won’t simply disappear over time. While not a severe problem for people with healthy feet, it can be painful and should be dealt with when you discover it.

You can treat the condition yourself

You can manage symptoms at home by soaking your feet in warm water, cleaning and drying your feet, wearing comfortable footwear, and taking over-the-counter pain medication. But if things don’t improve, you need to see a doctor. Getting help is more urgent if it turns out to be infected.

Ingrown toenails can’t be caused by footwear

What you wear on your feet can affect a lot of things, including how you walk, the amount of pain you endure, and how balanced you are when doing anything on your feet. If your shoes are crowding your toes, they can definitely put pressure on your nails.

If ingrown toenails run in the family, you’ll always have them

If you have a family history of this problem, there is certainly a good chance you’ll be dealing with it at some point, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. We can treat it and keep the problem from returning.

Treating ingrown toenails is painful and complex

There are lots of people who are hesitant to get medical help when they need it and many who think the treatment is worse than the condition itself. But with ingrown toenails, this is definitely not the case

We can treat an infection with antibiotics. In severe cases, we might recommend:

  • Lifting the nail to trim it
  • Gutter splints
  • Taping
  • Surgery

If you’re struggling with an ingrown toenail, you don’t need to suffer in silence. If you’ve treated it at home and it isn’t improving, make an appointment with Dr. Sharobeem and our team at Manhattan Podiatry Group today.

We have locations throughout the greater New York City area: in the Financial District in lower Manhattan, in Gramercy Park in midtown Manhattan, on Staten Island, and in Manalapan, New Jersey.