What is an Ingrown Toenail?Ingrown toenails often are the result of trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes.
While they are very common, ingrown toenails can also be very painful. When trimming your nails, avoid tapering the corners so that the nail curves with the shape of your toe. The sides of the nail will curl down and dig into your skin. Shoes that are too tight or short also may cause ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen and tender, and later, may become sore, red and infected. Your skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
Soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times each day is usually a good way to treat an ingrown nail. We recommend that you visit our office and let Dr. DOCTOR determine the best course of treatment for your condition.
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail plate avulsion) may need to be surgically removed if an acute infection occurs. The procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.
You can prevent ingrown toenails by:
- Trimming your toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Ensuring that your shoes and socks are not too tight.
- Keeping your feet clean at all times.
An ingrown toenail (also known as onychocryptosis) occurs when the nail grows sideways into the toe, and not outward. The result is pain in the side of the toe. The big toe is most commonly affected. It can be caused by any situation that interferes with the proper outward growth of the nail, such as improper trimming of the nail or incorrect footwear.
The diagnosis of an ingrown toenail can be made on the basis of the appearance of the toe. A history is also obtained to determine the cause of the ingrown toenail, and to address any predisposing conditions.
In some cases, the edge of the nail can be separated from the side of the toe. Padding is the placed between the nail and the toe to encourage growth in the correct direction. Many cases require surgical removal of the toenail. A new, normal nail then grows in over the next several months.
The nail may continue to grow into the side of the toe. This can lead to progressive pain or recurring infection. It is most serious in people with underlying medical problems such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease.