Ouch! If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you know how painful and uncomfortable they can be. Ingrown toenails, also referred to as onychocryptosis, is a common condition in which the corner or side of a toenail grows onto the flesh. More than 3 million cases are documented each year and it’s usually self-treatable. Common symptoms of an ingrown nail are tenderness, redness, swelling, and infected tissue around the nail.
The people who are most susceptible to ingrown nails are those with thick or curved nails. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by injuries, poor fitting shoes, or improperly groomed feet. People who have vascular problems or diabetes need to be aggressive about preventing and treating ingrown toenails because they can lead to serious complications and even loss of limbs.
A damaged or poorly trimmed nail can become ingrown and burrow into the skin. Infection can follow and the site becomes painful and even makes it difficult to walk. When trimming nails, they should be trimmed straight across so it’s less likely to burrow into the skin. Try not to cut your nails too short or wear shoes that are too tight.
It’s best to see a physician if the pain is severe or pus is present and redness spreads. An antibiotic may be prescribed to clear up an infection. In many cases the nail may be partially removed to prevent reoccurring infection. This is a simple procedure and is performed under local anesthetic. Most patients experience relief immediately.
Here are some quick home remedies to treat an ingrown toenail:
- Wear comfortable shoes while the toenail heals, such as sandals. Any footwear that doesn’t press on your toe is good
- Soak the affected toe in warm water for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day
- Apply ointment such as Neosporin on the wound to prevent infection
If you leave an ingrown toenail untreated or undetected, it may infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection. Often you can take care of ingrown toenails on your own, but look and listen to your body and know when it’s time to see a doctor.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.