Ingrown toenails occur when the nail grows into the surrounding skin. Symptoms may include mild discomfort to redness, swelling, drainage, and pain. For some, ingrown toenails may only occur once; in others in can be a chronic condition.
What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?
Ingrown toenails develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition can be congenital; the nails are too large or curve into the skin as they grow. Toe deformities such as bunions or overlapping toes can cause an ingrown as they increase the pressure on neighboring toes. Improper trimming of the nails and wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly are also common causes of an ingrown nail. And finally, trauma or fungus in the nail may also contribute to ingrown nails. The most common site for this condition is the big toe.
Treatment and Prevention
You should never take a blade or scissors down the side of the nail plate as you could cause further damage. If the ingrown nail condition is mild, you can soak your foot in warm water and Epsom salts and carefully trim the nail. If it does not alleviate the irritation and pain, make an appointment to see one of our doctors. They may simply cut the nail properly to alleviate the symptoms. If infected, the doctor may need to remove a small section of nail causing the infection.
If the condition is a recurring one, there is a permanent solution. Your doctor can perform a minor procedure to remove the offending nail section and apply a chemical in that area to eliminate the cells that produce the sliver of nail. This will prevent the section of ingrown toenail from growing back. This procedure is effective in the majority of patients with little discomfort. If you exhaust all conservative treatments with little success, a surgical removal of the nail root may be considered.