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Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail will grow into the skin. This usually happens at the side of the nail as opposed to the top of the nail where most expect it to occur when they hear the term ‘ingrown toenail’. As the nail grows into the skin, symptoms such as pain and discomfort start to appear. Infection is possible if the skin is broken.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

The condition may be inherited in a lot of cases, while trauma to the toe may cause the toenail to grow into the skin as well. One of the most common causes is cutting the nail too short so that the skin around it envelopes it. Other potential causes of ingrown toenails include wearing tight shoes, ill-fitting shoes, nail fungal infections, and loss of a toenail.


Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

Common symptoms of the condition are pain, redness, swelling, and a warm sensation around the toe. If the skin is broken and infection occurs, the individual may notice an unpleasant odor or liquid draining from the area. Infections are very serious and demand medical attention.

Treatment of Ingrown Toenails

If you have an infection, or think you may, seek medical attention. What’s more, if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, seek medical attention as well. If an infection is present, antibiotics will likely be prescribed. Home treatments may be effective for mild cases of ingrown toenails or when treating the condition for the first time.

Soaking the foot in water (room temperature) and massaging around the sides of the nail may help reduce inflammation. Try to avoid cutting the nail too much. This may actually worsen the condition rather than make it better.

If home care is not effective, the physician may remove a portion of the nail or the entire nail. This procedure is typically performed in the office and requires numbing the toe before beginning. Removing a nail root may also be necessary to prevent the condition from recurring. There is no special recovery from these procedures.

To avoid the condition or prevent it from recurring, cut the nail in a straight line and do not trim them too short. Wear shoes that fit well and do not cramp the toes together. If you notice an ingrown nail, either soak and massage the foot or seek medical care. Do not try other methods of relieving pain, as many of these are ineffective and may worsen the condition.