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What causes a toenail to curl?

The toenails on both of my big toes tend to curl down into the toe. If I forget to cut them and let them grow for too long, they can get extremely painful! Why is this happening?
In grown toenails can be incredibly painful. They can prevent people from doing basic things such as walking normally. Luckily, they can be treated. The types of physicians that treat in grown toenails are primary care physicians such as family practice doctors or pediatricians. Toe nails curl when they have left the edge of the nail bed. In other words they only will head off in the wrong direction when they are no longer attached to a part of the body. In the case of ingrown toe nails they grow into the skin on the outer portions of the toe, penetrating dermis and allowing for the entry of bacteria that grow and cause an infection. When this happens, the edge of the toe nail needs to be removed or the wound will not heal. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician when this begins happening. He or she can take a look at the toe and relieve the infection by cutting the edge of the toe nail out, possibly draining the infection, and possibly prescribing some topical antibiotics. Your doctor can then provide you with some education that can help you prevent these from occurring again in the future. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
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