Ingrown Toenails: What They Are and How They Can Be Treated

Ingrown toenails are a common condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. The condition occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the flesh, causing pain, redness, and swelling. In some cases, an infection may develop, which can cause further complications.

What are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the flesh instead of over it. This can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming. When the toenail is trimmed too short or at an angle, it can cause the edge of the nail to dig into the flesh. Other factors that can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails include tight shoes, injury to the toenail, fungal infections, and certain medical conditions.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

The most common symptoms of ingrown toenails include pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. In some cases, there may also be discharge or a foul odor coming from the affected area. If the condition becomes infected, the patient may experience fever, increased pain, and redness.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for ingrown toenails depend on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, simple home remedies, such as soaking the affected foot in warm water and wearing shoes that provide enough room for the toes, may be enough to relieve the symptoms. In more severe cases, more aggressive treatments may be necessary.

  1. Antibiotics: In cases where the ingrown toenail is infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to clear up the infection. Antibiotics can be taken orally or applied directly to the affected area, depending on the severity of the infection.
  2. Toenail Removal: In some cases, removal of the affected portion of the toenail may be necessary. This can be done in the doctor’s office using a local anesthetic. The doctor will remove the affected portion of the toenail and clean the area to prevent infection.
  3. Partial Nail Avulsion: Partial nail avulsion is a surgical procedure in which the affected portion of the toenail is removed. This procedure is typically performed using a local anesthetic and can be done in the doctor’s office. After the procedure, the patient will be given antibiotics to prevent infection and may need to wear a protective dressing for a period of time.
  4. Nail Matrix Ablation: Nail matrix ablation is a surgical procedure in which the nail matrix, the area responsible for producing the toenail, is permanently destroyed. This procedure is typically performed using a local anesthetic and can be done in the doctor’s office. After the procedure, the patient will be given antibiotics to prevent infection and may need to wear a protective dressing for a period of time.

Ingrown toenails are a common condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing symptoms of an ingrown toenail, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The treatment options for ingrown toenails range from simple home remedies to more aggressive surgical procedures, depending on the severity of the condition. With proper treatment, ingrown toenails can be effectively treated and managed, allowing you to get back to your normal activities as soon as possible.