Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are a very common problem, and can occur at any age.  There are many possible causes: cutting the nails incorrectly, injuries to the toe,  fungal infection,  poorly fitting shoes, and very frequently, an underlying hereditary growth pattern. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection.  Ingrown toenails can be painful. Ingrown toenails start out with the skin next to the nail becoming taut, red, swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become infected, start draining and develop a malodor, eventually, the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail. 

Treating an initial ingrown nail episode is straight forward: soak the foot in warm soapy water, or Epsom salts and warm water, several times each day. Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks. If the problem doesn't resolve in a few days, Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present.  In persistent cases, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. Known as partial nail avulsion, the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic, and cutting out the ingrown edge of the toenail.  Often, some individuals experience recurrent episodes of ingrown nail at the same location, despite attempts at prevention, and or treatment. In those cases a slightly more involved procedure is performed.  This procedure results in a permanent change to the nail growth pattern, and should stop the nail from growing in, from there on.

Ingrown toenails can become severe.





To try prevent ingrown nails one should:

Trim toenails straight across without much rounding of the corners.

Avoid keeping the toenails too short.

Clip the nails, do not tear them.

Ensure that shoes and socks are not too tight.

Wash the feet regularly with soap and water .

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