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Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. 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.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
- Trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes.
- Shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short)
- Fungus Infections
- Poor foot structure.
Treatment and Prevention for Ingrown Toenails
- In most cases, treating ingrown toenails is simple: soak the foot in warm, soapy water several times each day.
- Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks.
- Trim nails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.
When is Surgery Needed?
In severe cases, if an acute infection occurs, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. Known as partial nail plate avulsion, the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail..