What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow into the skin. They cause pressure and pain along the nail edges. The edge of the nail may cut into the skin, causing redness, swelling, pain, drainage, and infection. The most common cause of an ingrown toenail is pressure from shoes. Other causes include improperly trimmed nails, crowding of the toes, and repeated trauma to the feet from activities such as running, walking or doing aerobics. Keeping your toenails properly trimmed is the best way to prevent ingrown toenails. If you have a persistent problem or if you have a nail infection, you may need a doctor’s care. Severe problems with ingrown nails may be corrected with surgery to remove part of the toenail and growth plate.
How do you treat an ingrown toenail?
You can try a variety of home remedies to help care for your toenail. These include:
- Soaking your feet in warm water to reduce tenderness and swelling.
- Applying an over the counter antibiotic cream.
- Choosing sensible foot wear. This is an important factor because you want to choose shoes that give your toes enough space and that do not pinch.
If home remedies do not help, you should contact your foot doctor.