Ingrown toenails


 

What is an Ingrown toenail?

If you have skin growing over the corner of your toenail, that is called an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails can become infected if not treated, making them more painful and more swollen. The classic sign of infection is a white or yellowish discharge draining from under the skin. Some people also develop a fever or other signs of illness.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails can develop if you are wearing shoes or socks that are too tight in the toe area. Toenails that are trimmed with rounded edges can also increase your chance of getting an ingrown toenail. The best way to avoid this is to trim toenails straight across (square) and wear shoes that allow plenty of room for your toes to move. Other causes of toenail problems include toe injuries and some medical conditions, such as a fungal infection or arthritis. 

How are ingrown toenails treated?

f the toenail is infected, you need medical attention right away. If the toenail is not yet infected, you might try soaking your toes in a warm water bath a few times a day. Bandage the toe with a gauze wrap or foam toecap. Some over-the-counter medications can be used to reduce swelling and pain.

People who have diabetes or an autoimmune disease should call a podiatrist before the toenail becomes infected.

Some of the ways to treat ingrown toenails include:

  • Remove excess skin around the toenail
  • Take antibiotics to prevent or treat infection
  • Bandage the toe to prevent infection and injury
  • Laser treatment to speed up the natural healing process
  • For severe cases, surgery may be best

Prevention

To help prevent ingrown toenails you should:

  • Keep the toenail trimmed straight across, don’t curve your nails or cut in
  • Keep your toenails at a moderate length, don’t cut too short
  • Wear shoes that fit properly
  • Check your feet regularly
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