How To Fix Ingrown Toenail

What Is An Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the nail curls downward and grows into the surrounding skin.

While any toe can be affected, it most commonly occurs on the big toe and can occur at any age.

An ingrown toenail can cause pain and inflammation, presenting as tenderness, redness, and swelling.

In some cases, an ingrown toenail may become infected. If left untreated, the infection could potentially spread and affect the underlying bones.

Healthy ToeNail Ingrown Toenail
Healthy ToeNail Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown Toenails Symptoms

If you have an ingrown toenail, you might experience:

Pain or tenderness
Redness
Swelling
Hardened skin surrounding the area

An ingrown toenail can become infected. Signs of infection include:

Pus or discharge of liquid from the wound around the toe
Fever or throbbing pain in the toe
Bleeding around the toenail
Redness and warm skin around the toenail
Symptoms typically worsen rather than improve over time.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails

You can get an ingrown toenail if you:

  • Have tight-fitting shoes or socks.
  • Wear tights that crowd your toes, putting pressure on your toenails.
  • Cut your toenails too short or not straight across.
  • Injure your toe, for example, by stubbing it.
  • Pick or tear the corners of your toenails.
  • Have sweaty feet, making your skin soft and easier for toenails to dig in.
  • Have toenails with naturally curved edges or toenails that are fan-shaped.

Ingrown toenails become more common in older people because nails get thicker with age.

Ingrown toenails can also be caused by some medicines and fungal nail infections.

Ingrown toenails are more likely to get infected in people who have diabetes or circulation problems.

How To Treat An Ingrown Toenail

Try this home treatment if your toenail is cutting into your skin:

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day.
  2. Use a cotton bud to gently push away the skin from the corner of the nail.
  3. Repeat each day for a few weeks and allow the toenail to grow.
  4. Once the end of the nail grows forward, insert a tiny piece of cotton wool or dental floss under the toenail edges. This helps the nail grow over the skin and prevents it from cutting into the skin. Remember to change the cotton wool or dental floss each time you soak your foot.
  5. Avoid picking at the toenail or trying to remove it yourself.

An infected toenail may require treatment with antibiotics. Your doctor or podiatrist may need to drain the pus.

In severe cases, part or all of the nail may need to be removed through surgery.

How To Prevent Ingrown Toenails

To help prevent an ingrown toenail:

  1. Keep your feet clean and dry.
  2. Wear properly fitting shoes.
  3. Trim your nails properly by briefly soaking your foot in warm water before trimming. Cut your nails straight across, avoiding tapering or rounding the corners. Also, avoid cutting toenails too short.
  4. If you have diabetes or persistent foot problems, it’s important to see a health professional regularly. A podiatrist can conduct routine foot checks and provide nail care.

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