If you've ever had an ingrown toenail, you probably got an infection to go along with it. Ingrown toenails are particularly susceptible to getting infected, especially if you don't seek help from a professional. Here's why you're at a high risk of infection if you get an ingrown toenail.
One of the biggest culprits behind infections in the feet is moisture. Certain types of bacteria thrive in warm, damp places, and chances are your socks and shoes are one of those places. As a result, bacteria can easily get into the cut in your foot and inflame the tissues there. This is part of the reason why the toe with an ingrown toenail often appears red, swollen, or bruised. Your body is actively fighting an infection, and more blood rushes to the area during this process.
Dirt & Bacteria
Bacteria in your shoes and socks is an issue, so you might think that taking them off is a good idea. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Dirt is also a big threat to your foot right now. If dirt gets into your wound, it could become infected or even septic. If that weren't enough, bacteria that can be found outside of your body can easily get into your body without protection.
Out of Sight
Finally, one of the biggest problems with ingrown toenails is that they often go unnoticed for a long period of time. While a scratch on your hand or face probably gets your attention and is immediately disinfected, your toe likely isn't so lucky. You probably noticed slight discomfort at first, but may not have really examined your foot until the pain became worse. By this time, chances are an infection already developed.
Not keeping an eye on your feet — especially if you've previously had ingrown toenails — is a very bad idea. Bacteria can do a number on your entire body, even if it gets in through your feet. One girl actually passed away simply from having bacteria in a shoe get into a cut in her foot.
If you think that your foot hurts, always take the time to stop, take off your shoes and socks, and examine it carefully. If your skin looks puffy, swollen, red, or just plain hurts when touched, seek help from a medical professional right away. They'll treat your foot to drain any infection and give you medicine to control it, while simultaneously removing the excess nail that's damaged your toe.