What are ingrown toenails? Ingrown toenails are usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes. They may also be caused by shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection.
Symptoms: A common ailment, ingrown toenails can be painful. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
Prevention: Ingrown toenails can be prevented by:
- Trimming toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Ensuring that shoes and socks are not too tight.
- Keeping feet clean at all times.
Treatment: In most cases, treating ingrown toenails is simple:
- Soak the foot in warm and soapy water several times each day.
- Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks.
- Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present.
- In severe cases, if an acute infection occurs, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. This procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.