What Is an Ingrown Toenail?
When a toenail is ingrown, the
nail is curved downward and grows into the skin, usually at the
nail borders (the sides of the nail). This “digging in” of the nail
irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling and
warmth in the toe.
If an ingrown nail causes a break
in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area,
which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if your toe isn’t
painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into
the skin can progress into an infection.
What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?
· In many people, the tendency to
have this common disorder is inherited
· The result of trauma
· Repeated pressure on the toes, such
as kicking or running
The most common cause of ingrown
toenails is improper trimming. Cutting your nails too short
encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail.
Certain nail conditions are often
associated with ingrown toenails. For example, if you have had a
toenail fungal infection or if you have lost a nail through trauma,
you are at greater risk for developing an ingrown
Home treatment is strongly discouraged
if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have a medical
condition that puts your feet at high risk-for example, diabetes,
nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.
Dr. Piccarelli will examine your
toe and select the treatment best suited for you. Treatment may
· Oral antibiotics
· Permanent removal
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
· Trim your nails
· Avoid poorly-fitting