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TIGHT SOCKS CAUSE INGROWN TOENAILS
By Bethesda, MD & Springfield, VA Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross of The Podiatry Center

Did you know that tight socks can cause ingrown toenails? Shoes make sense, but who knew fabric could do so much damage?

The culprit is the pressure tight socks put on your toes, especially your big toes. Early signs of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Pain when pressure is applied to the toe.
  • Fluid build-up.
  • Tender, swollen, or hard skin next to the toenail.

The most dangerous part about an ingrown toenail is that your toe might become infected. Some signs of infection include:

  • Overgrowth of the skin around the nail.
  • Oozing pus.
  • Redness and swelling.

What Happens If Your Toenail Gets Infected?

If you have diabetes or numbness, there’s a good chance you may not notice an ingrown toenail. Home treatments may not work for your ingrown toenail and you might need to see a podiatrist to avoid unnecessary risk.

If the ingrown toenail is caused by an injury, your doctor may take an x-ray to determine how far into the skin your nail has grown. If it’s infected and regular treatments don’t work, you may need surgery to remove part or all of the toenail.

Surgical Treatment To Treat Ingrown Toenails

  1. Partial Nail Removal

Essentially, the nail is made narrower by a podiatrist. Local anesthesia is administered and the podiatrist cuts the nail straight and places a piece of cotton between the nail and the skin to keep it from growing back into the skin. To keep the nail from growing back completely, your doctor may opt for applying a compound called phenol.

  1. Total Nail Removal

If your ingrown nail is caused by thickening, the doctor may remove the entire nail and let it grow back brand new. This might be recommended if your toenail is malformed due to fungus or infection.

After surgery, your toe is bandaged and you’ll be instructed to keep your foot elevated for about two days. Once the bandage is removed, you’ll have to wear open-toed shoes and soak your feet daily in salt water until it heals.

Prevention of Ingrown Toenails

The best way to avoid surgery is to take good care of your feet and toenails. You can easily do this by maintaining healthy foot care habits.

  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes and socks.
  • Wear protective shoes like steel-toe boots if you work in a hazardous environment where you might drop something heavy and cause trauma.

If you have diabetes or chronic numbness, an ingrown toenail could go unnoticed and cause more problems than just an infection. Make sure someone checks on your feet and toenails on a regular basis to avoid unnecessary pain and hardship. In some cases, something as seemingly benign as a minor cut or ingrown toenail can ultimately lead to foot amputation in diabetics, so taking good care of your feet could help you avoid losing a limb.

If you aren’t sure what’s going on, need help, or want professional input from a Bethesda, MD Podiatrist or Springfield, VA Podiatrist, we’re here to help! Call The Podiatry Center today at (301) 656-6055 and let us help you keep your feet happy.


The Podiatry Centers treat all medical and surgical foot pain and ankle pain conditions. Licensed Bethesda, MD Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot pain and ankle pain relief.

Our Bethesda, Maryland (MD) and Springfield, Virginia (VA) Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.

Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!


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