Sharp pinching around your toe might be an ingrown toenail

Ingrown Toenail: Why Is My Toe Red and Swollen?

It is amazing how an injury to one little toe can cause so much discomfort. If you have an ingrown toenail, it is possible that you can’t squeeze your foot into a pair of shoes and you do everything you can to avoid bumping it. We understand how even a minor injury can be painful and frustrating, and how quickly it can worsen without treatment. If you have a toe problem, do not wait to call Harvey R. Danciger DPM for diagnosis and treatment at (760) 568-0108.

What Is the Problem?

Redness, swelling or a pinching pain around the nail of your toe is likely to be from an ingrown toenail. Known as onychocryptosis, this toe problem often occurs with the big toenail but can affect other toes as well. It is a very common condition treated at our Palm Desert, CA podiatric office in which the nail starts to curve into the fleshy skin alongside it. Nails are normally fairly flat but when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, it can be very painful as it injures the surrounding tissue. If left untreated, a slight sore spot could worsen and progress into a bone infection.

How Did This Happen?

The most common cause for an ingrown toenail is improper trimming of the nail. It is best if toenails are cut straight across. When they are cut too short, in a curved shape or down at an angle, the nail can grow downwards into the skin. As the nail grows into the skin, the pressure causes the skin at the nail edge to thicken and become hardened. Swelling and pain can result.

Wearing shoes with tight, pointed toe boxes that squish your toes together can also cause an ingrown toenail. An injury such as stubbing your toe and heredity are both risk factors as well.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

This toe injury can progress and become a very serious infection. For this reason, self-care or treatment at our office at the onset of symptoms is crucial. We encourage you to monitor your feet for any of the following common symptoms:

  • Pain in your toe along the sides of the nail
  • Redness around your toe
  • Swelling around the nail
  • Infection around your nail
  • Difficulty wearing shoes


How Are Ingrown Toenails Treated?

In mild cases, there are several ways that you can relieve pain with self-care methods at home. Soaking your feet in warm water several times a day may help reduce swelling and tenderness. Applying an antibiotic ointment can help ward off infection, and wearing open-toed shoes or a style with a wide toe box will alleviate pressure on the affected toe.

With a more advanced case home treatment may be ineffective or an obvious infection could be present. In this situation, you should contact Harvey R. Danciger DPM for immediate treatment. We may need to gently remove the ingrown part of the toenail. This procedure provides relief but the nail may grow in again. If you experience repeated ingrown toenails, we can perform a procedure to permanently remove the side and root of the nail and prevent the edge from growing improperly.

What can I do?

You can help prevent ingrown toenails by trimming your toenails straight across, keeping your feet clean, and avoiding socks and shoes that are too tight. It is very important to note that if you have diabetes or a condition that causes poor circulation, you are at a higher risk for an ingrown toenail to turn into a serious complication. For this reason, please contact us for treatment as soon as possible.

Harvey R. Danciger DPM is an expert at treating ingrown toenails. Many of our patients who enjoy the warm climate in Southern California are able to get back into their sandals without pain very quickly. Contact our office today if you have any questions about foot care or need treatment for an ingrown toenail problem. Call us at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment online.


Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle