10 Causes of Ingrown Toenails

By james
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It is not completely clear why we have nails. Some think they act as protection for the tips of our fingers and toes, while others think they are simply the remnants of now obsolete claws. Either way, we all have them, even if we barely notice them most of the time.

Sometimes, though, things can go wrong and we can become very aware that they are there. Toenails will sometimes begin to grow inwards, eating into the soft flesh of the toes they are growing on. This can be extremely painful for the patient and could also lead to an infection. There are a number of contributing factors toward ingrown nails and most of them are quite easily avoidable.

Cause #1: Tight Shoes

Shoes come in all shapes and sizes and are suitable for a wide range of purposes. They can be used for informal occasions, formal occasions, sports, working and even just for lazing around on a beach. Despite the wide variety, though, there is one thing that is important to all shoes, which is that they should fit well.

Shoes that are too loose could easily fall off your feet while walking, as well as causing other problems. It is much better to have shoes that fit snugly to the shape of your feet, although it is possible to have them too tight. Shoes that are too tight can also cause problems with ingrown toenails being one of them.

Ingrown Toenails

Cause #2: Injury

Toes are prone to picking up knocks. It is easy to drop things on them which can be very painful and it can also be very easy to stub them against objects, which can bring a tear or two to the eye. As well as being painful it could also lead to further problems or complications.

If you have caused physical damage to your toe then you should not take it too lightly as further complications can occur. You might open yourself up to the possibility of infections and a damaged toenail could begin to grow back into the toe. Depending on the extent of the injury, it might be necessary to see a medical professional.

Cause #3: Posture

Being able to walk, run, jump and other physical activities require a great deal of coordination and balance. We don’t notice it, but we are constantly adjusting our bodies to maintain our balance. This means we also have a posture that helps maintain this balance and coordination, and it is a posture our bodies have evolved to live with.

Not all of us have an ideal posture, though, and an abnormal posture can result in numerous complications. An abnormal posture could push the toes together and put pressure on the toes as they grow, potentially leading to an ingrown toenail. Posture abnormalities can often be corrected using surgery, therapy and devices.

Ingrown Toenails

Cause #4: Improper Cutting

Our nails are constantly growing at a rate of around 3 millimeters a month. Long nails can get in the way, though. They can get caught on fabrics and can also break or bend with some pain. Before they get too long we usually just cut them off which is a painless experience if done correctly.

Cut the nails incorrectly and you could be causing yourself a lot of unnecessary discomfort. Improper cutting is among the most common causes of ingrown toenails and could easily be prevented. When cutting, make sure to cut straight across and ingrown toenails should not be a problem for you.

Cause #5: Poor Foot Hygiene

Most of us are well aware of the importance of maintaining good hygiene. Regardless of the necessity, a lack of hygiene can simply feel dirty and uncomfortable and most of us will welcome the chance of a bath or shower when we need one. Still, though, it can be easy to not pay enough attention to some parts of the body, especially the feet.

When you are washing, make sure that your feet are cleaned as well as the rest of the body. It is also important to make sure the feet are properly dried as damp feet could contribute to the nails growing back into the toes.

Ingrown Toenails

Cause #6: Genetics

Our genetic codes are the blueprint for everything about us. Genes determine our physical characteristics and also much about our personality. While they give us all the information we need to grow and develop into strong, healthy adults, our genes can also contain information that is not so useful.

Sometimes, ingrown toenails can simply be a matter of genetics. If it runs in the family then, unfortunately for you, there’s a reasonable chance that you can suffer from the condition as well.

Cause #7: Unusual Curvature

All our nails are curved to an extent but some are more curved than others. The extent of curvature usually ties in just right with the shape of our toes, helping them to fit together perfectly. For people with nails that are particularly curved, however, then quite uncomfortable complications could arise.

Toenails that are excessively curved could begin to dig into the soft tissues of the toes and even grow into them. This can be very painful and also potentially lead to nasty infections. If you do have nails that are precariously curved you should take extra precautions to try and prevent them from growing into your toes.

Ingrown Toenails

Cause #8: Physical Activities

Our bodies are well adapted to resisting the daily wear and tear we put them under. Aside from the occasional bump or bruise, they stand up well to the job. Sometimes, though, we can expose our bodies to activities that they are not adapted for and this can lead to problems.

Athletes, in particular, are likely to put their bodies under stress that they would not normally experience. This can include activities such as continually kicking balls and this can have the effect of pushing the toenails into the soft tissues of the toes. Some sportswear might also encourage toenails to begin growing inwards.

Cause #9: Fungal Infections

Fungi are neither plant nor animal and are a form of life that is placed in a category of its own. They are also very common and are found all over the world. Some can grow to be very large, while many others are microscopic. Most are harmless to us but some can be harmful.

Fungal infections can cause the toenails to thicken and become distorted, both of which could encourage an ingrown nail. Fungi are more likely to cause an infection in a damp environment, making it more important to keep the feet as dry as possible at all times.

Cause #10: Diet

Every part of our body needs nutrition, and different parts need different nutrition if they are to remain healthy. Even parts that don’t appear to be ‘alive’ still need to be fed and not giving them what they need can lead to problems. This includes the nails, and they can become deformed and unhealthy if the nutrients they need are lacking.

If the nails don’t get the nutrition they need they can become misshapen to the point where they can begin to dig into the soft tissues of the toes. Making sure you have the nutrition you need will help you overcome the issue in the medium-long term.

Ingrown Toenails

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