Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail starts to grow into the surrounding skin and cause irritation which can lead to an infection. Usually, the great toenails are affected but the lesser digits can also become affected. Ingrown toenails can occur due to many reasons-tight and narrow shoe gear, pedicures/improper nail cutting techniques, foot deformities such as bunions, sports and trauma. Some of the common signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails are localized redness, swelling and drainage with pain around the area.
An ingrown toenail should not be ignored as it can lead to a serious infection. Treatment options for ingrown toenails include warm water and Epsom salt soaks, topical/oral antibiotics and removal of the offending nail after local anesthesia. Some ways to prevent recurrent ingrown toenails are to wear wider shoe gear and trim nails straight across. If ingrown toenails become a chronic condition, a chemical agent can be used to prevent nail growth. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, don't wait too long to seek attention from a podiatrist!