What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Ingrown toenails are a common, painful condition–particularly among teenagers. Any toenail can become ingrown, but the problem more often affects the big toe. An ingrown nail occurs when the skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. Redness, pain and swelling at the corner of the nail may result and infection may soon follow. Sometimes a small amount of pus can be seen draining from the area.

 What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown nails may develop for many reasons. Some cases are congenital; the nail is simply too large for the toe. Trauma, such as stubbing the toe or having the toe stepped on, may also cause an ingrown nail. However, the most common cause is tight shoe wear or improper grooming and trimming of the nail.

Ingrown Toenails Treatment

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. Before infection sets in, home care may prevent the need for further treatment. Begin by soaking the foot in warm water 3-4 times daily, keeping it dry during the rest of the day. Wear comfortable shoes with adequate room for the toes. Consider wearing sandals until the condition clears up.

If there is no improvement in 2-3 days, or if the condition worsens, or if excessive inflammation, swelling, pain and discharge are present, the toenail may be infected and medical treatment is necessary. You may need to take oral antibiotics and the nail may need to be partially or completely removed, with permanent removal of the nail advised for children with chronic, recurrent infected ingrown toenails.

Unless the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and to wear socks and shoes with adequate room for the toes. Nails should be cut straight across with a clean, sharp nail trimmer. Trim the nails no shorter than the edge of the toe. Keep the feet clean and dry at all times.

Ingrown Toenail Removal in Chicagoland

Before searching, “how to get rid of ingrown toenails” online and having to sift through thousands of results that have a 50/50 chance of working, consider looking for experienced healthcare providers instead. Board-certified orthopedic specialist, Dr. Vora, is an expert physician who can provide the highest level of care and a solution that works. Dr. Vora has been treating ingrown toenails and other orthopedic conditions for many years and has developed a unique strategy for finding the perfect cure tailored to each and every patient. To schedule a consultation, please contact Dr. Vora to find a time that’s right at one of our convenient Chicagoland office locations.

Modified from the AAOS