An ingrown toenail is the one of most common toenail conditions our doctors treat. This painful condition occurs when the corners or sides of the nail dig into the soft tissue of the nail groove. This leads to the nail irritating the skin creating pain, redness, swelling and warmth to the toe.
The big toe is the most common location for this to occur, but the lesser toes can also be affected. If the nail edge breaks through the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection with drainage and odor. Some people have a heredity tendency for ingrown toenails. Other causes may include improper trimming, trauma, shoe pressure, or nail diseases.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
The diagnosis is made by clinical exam where the doctor will evaluate the nail borders.
Treatment for an ingrown toenail can be accomplished in the office setting and does not require a trip to the operating room.
Home care includes:
• Epsom salt soaks
• Antibiotic ointment
The use of oral antibiotics may help reduce an underlying infection, but it does not correct the problem of the embedded nail border.
Treatment can also be performed in the doctor’s office:
• A local anesthetic block is performed to numb the affected toe
• The offending nail border is then surgically removed
Should some nails become ingrown again, removal of the nail root is usually then recommended.
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