What is ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge or corner of the nail grows into the skin of the toe. This condition is a common form of nail disease. Ingrown toenail causes tenderness, redness, and possibly bleeding. Ingrown toenails needed to be treated as soon as they occur to prevent infection.
What causes ingrown toenail?
A number of things can cause an ingrown toenail. Ill-fitting shoes and improperly trimmed toenails are the most common causes. An ingrown toenail may occur when extra pressure is placed on your toe. This pressure is caused by shoes that are too tight or fit poorly. If you walk often or play sports, a shoe that is even a little tight can cause this problem. Deformities of the foot or toes can also place extra pressure on the toe. The skin along the edge of a toenail may become red and infected. The great toe is affected most often, but any toenail can become ingrown.
The following are the common causes of ingrown toenails:
- Toenails that are trimmed too short, or if the edges are rounded rather than cut straight across may cause the nail to curl and grow into the skin.
- Picking or tearing at the corners of the nails can also cause an ingrown toenail.
- Nails that are curved and grow into the skin.
- Toenails that are too large for their toes.
- Stubbing your toe or other injuries can also lead to an ingrown toenail.
What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
The common symptoms are a pain, redness, and swelling around the nail.
How is ingrown toenail treated?
You can take care and treat an ingrown toenail at home. But, don’t try to treat it at home if you have diabetes, a nerve problem in the leg or foot, poor blood circulation to your foot, or an infection around the nail.
Take the following steps to take care of an ingrown nail at home:
- Soak the foot in warm water 3 to 4 times a day if possible. After soaking, keep the toe dry.
- Gently massage the inflamed skin.
- Place a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the nail. Wet the cotton or floss with water or antiseptic.
Take following precautions while trimming your toenails:
- Briefly, soak your foot in warm water to soften the nails.
- Use a clean, sharp trimmer.
- Trim toenails straight across the top. Do not taper or round the corners or trim too short.
- Do not try to cut out the ingrown portion of the nail yourself. This will only make the problem worse.
- Wear sandals until the problem goes away.
- Apply over-the-counter medicine to the ingrown toenail to help with the pain.
Contact your doctor if the ingrown nail doesn’t heal or keeps coming back. You can see either your primary doctor, a podiatrist (foot specialist), or a dermatologist (skin specialist) for treatment.
Your doctor may treat it by:
- Removing the ingrown part of the nail.
- Prescribing antibiotics if the toe is infected.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.