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You Might Be Giving Yourself an Ingrown Toenail

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Nobody likes to find out that something they’ve been doing could actually be the cause of a painful problem. Many injuries are somewhat outside a person’s control, like accidents that break bones. Other foot and ankle issues, however, are easily preventable, like ingrown toenails. While ingrown nails can happen naturally, in many cases they can actually be caused by outside influences you have control over. Without even realizing it, you might be giving yourself an ingrown toenail.


Ingrown nails develop when something causes one edge or corner of a toenail to curve and grow under or into skin. This can be the result of the natural shape of your nail, or a consequence of outside forces acting on your toes. In either case the condition is painful. When it’s outside forces on your toes, however, it could be something you’re doing to yourself.


Here are a few common ways people accidentally contribute to their own ingrown toenails:

  1. Wearing tight shoes – Footwear that is too short, too narrow, or otherwise too tight can pinch down on nails and encourage the ends or edges to curve.

  2. Cutting nails too short – When your nails are too short, one side or corner is more likely to grow under the skin instead of over it.

  3. Leaving nails too long – Long nails stick out past your toes too far and easily bump against the insides of shoes, or get pinched down.

  4. Clipping the edges of nails – Cutting the corners or sides of your nails instead of straight across allows the skin around your nail to grow up over the sides and create an ingrown edge.

If you do any of these things, you might be setting yourself up for some significant toe pain. Fortunately, you can also do something about this! Changing your footwear and adjusting your trimming habits can make a huge difference and help protect your toes. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC can help you with this. Just make an appointment at our Metairie, LA, office by calling (504) 708-4810. You can also use the online request form.


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