Ingrown nails are one of the most common medical problems that podiatrists treat. They can start suddenly or may be an aggravating problem for years. When a nail border digs into the skin, an infection may occur which requires oral antibiotic treatment. There have been occasions where the infection was so aggressive that hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics were needed.
There are many myths about what causes ingrown nails. Many people believe that ingrown nails are caused from cutting their nail incorrectly. I often hear patients telling me that they should have cut their nails straight across instead of curved. The truth is that ingrown nails are commonly caused by factors which are difficult to control.
Often ingrown nails are hereditary. People inherit certain traits from their parents and abnormal growth of their nails may be one of them. Trauma can also play a significant role in causing the formation of ingrown nails. This injury can be due to shoes pressing down on the nail, stubbing the toe and causing the nails to grow differently, or dropping something on the nail.
Fortunately, ingrown nails can be readily treated with a quick in-office procedure. It only takes a few minutes to permanently fix a problem which can cause infection and pain with every step. Almost every day, patients tell me that if they knew it was going to be so easy, they would have stopped suffering and had the problem fixed a long time ago.