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Ingrown Nails ( Onychocryptosis )

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?  

When a toenail is ingrown, it is curved and grows into

the skin, usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nail).

This digging in of the nail irritates the skin, often creating

pain, redness, swelling and warmth in the toe.

If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria

may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often

marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if the

toe is not painful, red, swollen or warm, a nail that curves downward

into the skin can progress to an infection.

Causes

  • Heredity. In many people, the tendency for ingrown toenails is inherited.

  • Trauma. Sometimes an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.

  • Improper trimming. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your nails too short. This encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. 

  • Improperly sized footwear. Ingrown toenails can result from wearing socks and shoes that are tight or short.

  • Nail conditions. Ingrown toenails can be caused by nail problems, such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma.
     

Treatment

Sometimes initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be safely performed at home. However, home treatment is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected or for those who have medical conditions that put feet at high risk, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot or poor circulation.

Home Care
If you do not have an infection or any of the above medical conditions, you can soak your foot in room-temperature water (adding Epsom salt may be recommended by your doctor) and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation.

Avoid attempting “bathroom surgery.” Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, it is time to see a foot and ankle surgeon.

What You Should Know About Home Treatment

Do not cut a notch in the nail. Contrary to what some people believe, this does

not reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward. Do not repeatedly trim

nail borders. Repeated trimming does not change the way the nail grows and

can make the condition worse.
Do not place cotton under the nail. Not only does this not relieve the pain, it provides

a place for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in infection.
Over-the-counter medications are ineffective. Topical medications may mask

the pain, but they do not correct the underlying problem.

Physician Care

After examining the toe Dr. Martins will select the treatment

best suited for you. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic

may be prescribed. Sometimes a minor 10min in office procedure 

is performed and ease the pain and remove the side of the

offending nail. 

Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be a

pplied. Most people experience very little pain after procedure

and may resume normal activity the next day.

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