An ingrown toenail is a nail that is curved and grows in the skin, usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nail). The digging in of the nail irritates the skin and can cause pain, redness, swelling, and increased warmth in the toe. If an ingrown toenail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, causing drainage and foul odor.
Many causes of ingrown toenails exist ranging from hereditary to improper footwear. An ingrown toenail may be caused by trauma, such as stubbing your toe; improper trimming, most common is cutting your toenails too short; improper sized footwear such as tight socks and shoes; many nail conditions such as fungal infections may also make you more prone to get ingrown toenails.
Initial treatment can be safely performed at home; however, it is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected or it’s a high-risk foot condition, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.
If you do not have an infection or any of the above medical conditions, you can soak your foot in lukewarm water with Epsom salt for 10-15 mins and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation. Avoid “bathroom surgery” and repeat trimming of the toenail.
Come visit us at SVPG for a same-day evaluation and treatment. After examining the toe, our doctors will select the best-suited treatment for you. We may perform a minor surgical procedure in the office that will ease the pain and remove the offending nail under local anesthesia. Most people experience very little pain after the procedure and may resume normal activity the next day. You may be prescribed an oral antibiotic if an infection is present.
Many cases of ingrown toenails can be prevented by proper trimming, cut toenails in a fairly straight line, and do not cut them too short; use well-fitting shoes and socks.
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