Ingrown toenails occur when the sides of the nail dig down into the tissue. This results in pain, especially in shoe gear, and swelling of the tissue. Over time the site can become red with drainage which suggest infection. When this occurs it is important that you see your podiatrist as soon as possible to prevent further infection and risk of complications.

Cause

Cutting nails too short and cutting deep into the corners increse the risk for developing ingrown nails. Heredity, tight shoe gear and trauma to the nail also increase risk for ingrown nails.

Treatment

Soaking the foot in warm water and application of antibiotic ointment can help with pain and preven infection. Cutting the nail straight across and not rounding the edges can prevent ingrown nails. When an ingrown nail is painful avoid at home treatment or over the counter treatments especially among diabetics and those with circulation problems as they are at an increased risk for developing complications. Your podiatric physician can best diagnose and treat your problem. Ingrown nails can be addressed by removing the ingrown portion and in some cases oral antibiotic medication. For chronic ingrown nails, permanent procedures may be used that remove the offending portion of nail as well as the matrix from which the nail grows.