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Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is a common and painful condition of the toe. It occurs when the sides or corner of the nail grow inwards and penetrates the skin of the toe. Pain is often accompanied by swelling and redness. The big toe is affected most often.

Ingrown toe nails occur most often by wearing tight shoes, having unusually curved nails that grow downward, or trimming your nails very short or curved.

Ingrown toenails should be treated by your doctor, especially if you suffer from diabetes. Your doctor may suggest soaking your foot regularly in warm water, prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers, and wear open-toed shoes or sandals. Dental floss can be used to as a splint to elevate the ingrown nail, and works best is applied after a warm Epson salt soak. The floss can be left in place up to 12 hrs at a time. Untreated ingrown nails can lead to infection or even an abscess that necessitates surgical treatment. Matricectomy is a technique of removal of all or part of the base nail portion (nail bed) using chemical, electrical or surgical methods.

Affiliations

  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital
  • Joe W. King Orthopedic Institute
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery