Ingrown Toenails

What is it?

Ingrown toenails are very common and occur when the corner or side of the toenail grows into the surrounding soft flesh. This growth results in pain, redness, swelling and sometimes infection.

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection. This is especially important in diabetics who have poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet.

What are the treatment options?

There are some home remedies that can be tried to treat ingrown toenails. These include: soaking your feet in warm water to relieve tenderness, placing cotton or dental floss under the toenail after soaking to help the nail grow above the skin edge, applying antibiotic cream, choosing sensible footwear and taking pain relievers.

If none of the home remedies work your doctor may recommend any of the following treatment options: lifting the nail, partially removing the nail or removing the nail and tissue.

Procedure Goals

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing an ingrown toenail include:

  • improper cutting or trimming of the toenail 
  • wearing footwear that is too tight 
  • repeated trauma to toes, often due to sports activities 
  • diabetes 
  • fungal infections of the toenails 
  • turner syndrome 
  • arthritis 
  • gout

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