A curved toenail or a pincer nail is a condition where the sides of the toe nail curve inwards causing it to dig into the skin surrounding it. This results in what is known as an “ingrown toenail”; because it’s growth is directed towards the skin rather than outside in a straight line, effectively embedding itself inside it.

This brings with it a lot of pain, accompanied by swelling and redness. There is also a high possibility of infections, if it is left untreated. Individuals may notice that the skin becomes hard at first, followed by the formation of pus or fluid in the adjoining area.

The reasons for developing an curved toenails inward can be hereditary or acquired. Let us look in detail at some of the potential causes of this condition.

Curved Toenails – Causes

Trauma

One of the most common reasons this happens is if the toe has suffered some kind of damage. For example, if it collided head on with a blunt object. This can effectively change the overall course of nail growth, causing it to grow in an unfavorable direction.

This is one of the reasons the big toe is the most likely candidate for inner growth, owing to the fact that it is the first one to make impact in such a situation and therefore absorbs nearly all of the shock.

it doesn’t necessarily have to be a one-time incident. People who engage in a lot of athletic activities that put a lot of pressure on the toe end of their feet may also experience this. For example, the repeated trauma from kicking a football or a ballet dancer balancing their entire body weight on their toes.

Tight shoes

When wearing shoes that are smaller than the appropriate size, your toes typically compensate for the lack of space by getting scrunched close together.

If you wear smaller shoes for a long enough time, you will notice your nails naturally start to curve inwards because of the constant pressure on them. This is most likely to happen with the big toe.

This is why we recommend buying properly sized shoes. You must be especially careful when it comes to buying shoes for your kids as it can be difficult to keep up with their growth spurts. Don’t rely on predetermined sizes or intuitive guesswork. Have them personally try out every new pair before you purchase it.

Don’t just focus on the length. Your toes may have plenty of room up-front, but shoes that are too narrow are equally likely to contribute to the development of downward curved toenails…
 

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