What are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of the nail grows into the skin instead of around it. This most often affects the big toes. The pressure from the nail can break the skin and produce inflammation. Ingrown toenails result in pain around the sides of the nail, redness and swelling around the toenail, and sometimes infection. While ingrown toenails can appear mild at first, they can often progress into more bothersome symptoms.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Improperly trimming the toenails
  • Naturally curved toenails
  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes
  • An injury to the toenail

Certain individuals who are more prone to ingrown toenails are those who:

  • Are athletes
  • Are diabetic
  • Have poor foot hygiene
  • Have foot or toe deformities

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

You can find temporary relief from ingrown toenails by using a few at-home remedies. Soaking the feet in a warm water and vinegar solution can help soften the nail and clean beneath it. You might also try lifting the edge of the nail to relieve pressure. An anti-bacterial ointment can be applied to the side of the affected toe and bandaged for protection.

A persistent or severe ingrown toenail should be seen by a doctor for proper treatment. Your doctor can lift the toenail and apply cotton or a splint to relieve pressure from the toenail. If you notice worsening discomfort, pus from the affected toenail, or redness that appears to be spreading, you might have an infection that should be treated with an antibiotic. Your doctor will also check for fungus causing the ingrown toenail and might prescribe an anti-fungal medication. To treat severe ingrown toenails, you might be referred to a surgical center for partial or complete removal of the toenail.

If you are seeking relief for an ingrown toenail or suspect you might have an infection, come to Springfield Urgent Care for an examination. We can discuss treatment options as well as how to find relief from your discomfort.

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