Ingrown Toenail Facts: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Ingrown toenail is a very painful condition in which a nail grows or cuts into the sides of the nail bed. This condition can occur in both toenails and fingernails but occurs mostly in the nails of the feet. Statistically speaking, this condition happens more to men than women.

When you have this condition, the area will usually turn red and a bit warm and if not treated, can be a risk for infection. If infected, the area becomes swollen and red and can demonstrate pus. Some ingrown toenails are chronic; meaning, episodes of pain and infection may recur.

There are plenty causes of ingrown toenails but mostly it is because of cutting nails improperly, wearing shoes that don’t really fit, or a direct injury to the nail bed. With this condition, the big toe is usually the one affected, but any toenail can acquire it. In people with poor blood circulation or diabetes, symptoms may become worse for them.

Causes:

  • Shoes that don’t fit
  • Injury to your toenail or nail bed, such as getting stab during pedicures
  • Unusually curved toenails
  • Cutting nails improperly
  • Repeated trauma such as when runners subject pounding to their feet
  • Nail length
  • Congenital- if a family member has it, then you are at a higher risk of getting the condition.

Symptoms:

  • The most common symptoms is pain, especially in the affected area
  • Tenderness along one or both sides of the nail
  • Swelling in the area
  • Infection around the nail
  • Fever, but highly unusual
  • If infected, a small amount of pus may come out
  • If infection spreads, the toe becomes red and inflamed

Treatment:

  • Apply an antiseptic solution to the affected area
  • Soak your foot in warm water 4 times a day
  • You can have your nail removed by cauterization
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable, fit, and has adequate room for all your toes.
  • Put cotton or a soft pad on the area
  • If home treatment doesn’t help, go to your doctor. The doctor may treat it by trimming or removing the ingrown area to relieve pain. He or she may also prescribe you antibiotics to help remove infection.
  • Ingrown toenail surgery. If all else fails, then you might want to consider getting your toe surgically removed to relieve you of the pain and infected area.

If your condition becomes worse, consider ingrown toenail surgery. There have been a lot of successful cases and will relieve you of the pain. Call your doctor now to explore all your options.