Ingrown Toenail

What are

An ingrown toenail is caused when a nail is curved downward and grows into the skin, usually the sides of the nail. The ingrown toenail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe.  However, even if your ingrown toenail isn’t painful, red or swollen, it can still progress into an infection. 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.



Ingrown toenails can develop for various reasons. In some cases, 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. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. Cutting your nails too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. Another cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are tight or short.  For many people, the tendency to have this common disorder is inherited.



The main symptom of an ingrown toenail is the pain from the nail growing into the skin instead of over it. If the ingrown toenail gets infected, it might be swollen or red, and it might drain pus. The area around the ingrown toenail is often painful.



You can typically treat ingrown toenails by soaking your foot regularly in warm water and applying an antibiotic cream. If pain continues or there is pus or redness that seems to be spreading, see your doctor. You may need to have part of the nail removed and antibiotics prescribed for infection. You can also treat Ingrown Toenail by having your doctor place cotton under the edge of the nail to separate the nail from overlying the skin, so this will help the nail to grow above the skin edge.  Your doctor can also trim or remove the ingrown portion the toenail.  Your doctor may also recommend using an antibiotic for ingrown toenail, especially if it is infected or might become infected.



Ingrown toenails may be prevented by trimming your nails properly. Cut your toenails in a fairly straight line, but don’t cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail. Avoid poorly-fitting shoes, so don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box. Also avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when you run or walk.