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Ingrown Toenail

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that has begun to curve, and cut into the skin beside it, causing redness, pain and swelling.

If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if the toe isn’t painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection.

Causes

Causes of ingrown toenails include a hereditary component, improper nail trimming, injury to the nailbed, tight fitting shoes, or a nail condition such as a fungal infection. Nails should be trimmed straight across and not too short.

Treatment

Soaking of the toe with warm water and Epsom salts helps to bring down any inflammation associated with an ingrown toenail, however if symptoms persist it would be wise to seek the expertise of a podiatrist. Depending on the presentation, various forms of treatment may be recommended, ranging from antibiotics, wedge resection, to permanent nail border removal.