Ingrown Toenails

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edges or corners of the toenail grows into the skin or flesh of the toe. Once the nail grows into the skin, it can create an infection which can become painful. They are incredibly common, with 3 million reported cases in the US every year, and even more unreported cases.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails can be caused by environmental and genetic factors. Wearing shoes that are too tight, incorrectly trimming the nails to be too short, and poor hygiene are common reasons for ingrown toenails. They can also be caused by trauma and injuries, which is why they are very common in athletes. Individuals who are obese, or have diabetes, arthritis, or conditions that cause swelling such as heart, kidney, and thyroid problems, or edema. Some people have a natural tendency towards ingrown toenails due to congenital toenail deformity, or long toes. They usually occur on the big toes, but can be found on other toes as well.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are usually observable with the naked eye as they grown into the toe, and are accompanied by swelling, redness and pus on the skin where the nail has made contact. The infection may cause an odor, and patients usually complain of pain that may even make it difficult to walk.

Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

You doctor will usually be able to diagnose your ingrown toenail through observation. Based on the severity of your case, some treatments your doctor may choose to pursue include pus drainage, partial excision of the ingrown portion of the nail, or surgical removal of the nail with a local anesthetic. Since ingrown toenails can become a recurring problem, make sure to receive the appropriate treatment early on to prevent further future discomfort.

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