What is an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin. The area around an ingrown toenail becomes painful, red, and swollen. In more serious cases, pus drains from the area.
Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe and usually result from cutting your toenails too short. Other factors that can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails include:
- Poor foot hygiene
- Wearing tight shoes or socks that push the nail into your toe
- Stubbing or kicking your toe
- Poor posture
- Cutting your nails into rounded, irregular ends
You can often treat ingrown toenails yourself, however, some ingrown toenails become infected and require medical attention, especially if you have poor blood flow to your feet because of a condition such as diabetes.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
Most ingrown toenails are treatable at home. In a mild case, soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day, apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the infection, and keep your toe bandaged. You’ll also get relief from wearing sandals while the toenail heals to avoid it painfully rubbing against your shoe.
You should seek medical attention if your toenail becomes infected. Signs of an infection include:
- Increased redness and swelling
- Yellow or white pus
- Severe, throbbing pain
- Foul odor from the site of the infection
Dr. Forman may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the infection. In severe cases, he may also recommend surgery to remove part or all of the toenail to stop the spread of the infection. You should seek treatment for an ingrown toenail right away if you have diabetes or any vascular condition that affects blood flow to avoid potentially serious complications.
How can I prevent ingrown toenails?
Dr. Forman can give you advice on how to avoid getting ingrown toenails in the future. Most ingrown toenails are preventable through your hygiene and grooming habits, though some people are genetically more likely to get ingrown toenails than others.
Steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails include:
- Cutting your toenails straight across
- Wearing socks and shoes that fit properly (with enough room to wiggle your toes)
- Going barefoot after playing sports such as soccer to reduce pressure on toes
To get treatment for an ingrown toenail, call Put Your Feet First or book online today.