Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails cause tenderness, redness, and swelling around the sides of the toenail.

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that grows into the skin surrounding the nail. It usually occurs on the big toe and causes tenderness, redness, and swelling around the sides of the toenail.

Ingrown nails can be caused by tight shoes, improper cutting of toenails or an injury, but the problem may arise from the inherited shape of the toenail or from a fungal infection.

Treatment at home involves soaking in warm water and using an antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin to reduce the risk of infection.  An infection called paronychia can develop if the ingrown nail goes untreated.

If the problem does not improve with home remedies, your podiatrist may cut or lift the corner of the nail to allow the toe to heal more easily.

If the ingrown toenail becomes chronic – it happens repeatedly despite podiatric care.  A simple in-office procedure can produce a permanent remedy.

Call your doctor if your toe is red, warm and swollen, drains pus or if there are red streaks leading from your toe toward the foot.

Author
Gary Saphire, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S. Dr. Saphire is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon with decades of experience in treating problems in the lower extremities. He has trained more than 300 residents in surgery, limb salvage and diabetic foot care.

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