What is an ingrown toenail?  An ingrown toenail is when a nail is curved and grows into the skin, usually at the nail borders.  This digging in on the nail irritates the skin, often causing pain, redness, swelling and warmth in the toe.

Causes include: Hereditary, trauma, improper trimming, improper sized shoes.

If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria can enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and even an odor.  Even if the toe is not painful, red, swollen or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection.

Initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be performed at home.  However, if there is an infection present you should seek medical advice immediately.  Home treatment is strongly frowned upon for patients who are high risk with medical conditions such as nerve damage in the foot or leg, poor circulation, diabetes and smokers.

A treatment will be selected that is best suited for you as an individual. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic will be prescribed and soaking instructions will be given to you.

A minor surgical procedure is commonly advised that will ease pain and remove the offending nail border. After applying a local anesthetic, the offending nail border is removed. Some nails may become ingrown again, requiring removal of the nail root with a chemical to prevent it from growing back.

Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be applied which will be kept on until the next morning. After the first day, triple antibiotic and a band aid are applied.  Soaking instructions are recommended until the drainage discontinues.

Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day.

How do you prevent an Ingrown Toenail?

Perform proper trimming and wear well fitted shoes.

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