Ingrown Toenails

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Ingrown Toenails their nature and causes

The most common nail problem today are ingrown toenails. Corners of the nail dig into the tissue of the toe leading to irritation, often with associated redness and discomfort due to swelling. Most commonly toenails nature growth is straight. When ingrowth occurs the corners grow into the flesh of the toe. It can effect any toes on the foot but often the big toe is the most common location.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown nails can often be caused by the following:

  • Incorrectly trimming of nails
  • Genetics
  • In proper fitting shoes; crowding of toes
  • On-going trauma to the foot that is unresolved.

Ingrown Nail Symptoms

Ingrown nails can exhibit any of the following symptoms and indications:

  • Nails become extremely sore
  • Inflamation
  • Infection
  • Odor from the foot
  • Prominent skin tissue (proud flesh)

Things you can do to treat ingrown nails

If you have an indication of infection due to an ingrown nail, soak the foot in a warm salt water soak, or a pan of warm and soapy water. You can then apply an antiseptic and bandage the area.

Some Individuals should seek the help of a podiatric care professional who have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other circulatory disorders.

It is advised not to try to remove an ingrown nail yourself by digging into the flesh of the toe. All infections involving the foot should be diagnosed by a qualified podiatrist

See your Podiatrist if…

You experience any drainage or excessive inflamation is present around the nail. If you don’t experience short short term results with your home treatment see your foot doctor. Diabetics or those with poor circulation should seek immediate help from their doctor before it leads to further complications.

How are Ingrown Nails Treated

A Podiatrist will treat your ingrown nail by first removing the ingrown portion of the nail. If it is infected a topical or oral antibiotic can be prescribed to eliminate the issue. For chronic ingrown nails a procedure may be used to permanently remove the ingrown nail and prevent future occurrence. Typically, part of the nail is removed permanently by a chemical or a laser.

Prevention of Ingrown Nails

  • Cut your nails by trimming them straight across, don’’t let them extend longer than the tip of the toes. Round the edges with a nail file. Use clippers that are designed for toenails.
  • Avoid shoes with don’t allow for adequate room near the end of the toes.
  • Cut the nail rather than tear the nail.


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Dr. Gregory M. Jansyn