What Are The Cause(s) of Ingrown Toenails & How Do You Fix Them?

If you have ever had the corner of a toenail grow directly into the surrounding skin and cause it to become inflamed, broken, or infected, then you know what it is like to have an ingrown toenail. While this is a common condition, it is one that is very painful and can cause quite a bit of swelling, redness, and bleeding if it goes untreated. Let’s take a look at what the most common causes are of ingrown toenails, how to go about fixing them, and how to prevent them in the future.

7 Causes of Painful Ingrown Toenails

There are numerous causes for why an ingrown toenail may develop. The root cause can range from congenital issues, to repeated trauma of the toe, to common situations like improper grooming, cutting, and ill-fitting shoes or socks. Here are 7 of the most common reasons behind ingrown toenails:

1. If you cut your toenails incorrectly, angling them with the curve of your toe. This encourages the toenail to grow towards and into the side of the toe, rather than outward and on top of the skin.

2. If you wear ill-fitting footwear that places a lot of pressure onto your big toes. Or, if you wear socks, stockings, or shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet. This added pressure on your toes can cause the toenails to grow incorrectly.

3. Accidentally stubbing your toes, dropping items on them, or repeatedly kicking something like in sports: soccer, ballet, or kickboxing are good examples.

4. If you tear the side of your toenails instead of using proper cutters, this can cause ingrown toenails.

5. Having irregular foot shapes or proportions (hereditary). For instance, if your toenail is larger than the toe itself or if the surrounding tissue of the nail border grows too far around the upper edges of the nail; this can cause ingrown toenails.