An ingrown toenail occurs when the corners of the toenail grow into the skin. This may result in pain, redness, swelling, and warmth of the skin. When the skin is broken, bacteria may enter the skin and cause an infection. You may notice foul odor and drainage from the toe. It is best to treat these before they become infected.
What are the causes of an ingrown toenail?
There are several reasons an ingrown toenail may develop. This includes hereditary, trauma to the toenail such as wearing shoes that are too tight, and improper trimming of toenails. It may also be caused by nail conditions such as toenail fungus.
To prevent ingrown toenails, it is best to avoid trimming your toenails too short. Trim your toenails straight across instead of curving at the edges. Trying to cut out the ingrown edges can make the condition worse over time. If this is the first time you are experiencing an ingrown toenail, you may also try to soak your feet in lukewarm water with epsom salts. If you do not notice improvement in your symptoms within a couple of days, see your local podiatrist for further management before the condition becomes worse. In general, home treatment does little to fix the problem and can make the problem worse.
When To See Your Podiatrist
You should see your podiatrist if you continue to experience pain and redness or if your symptoms worsen. Your podiatrist will perform a minor procedure to remove the offending nail border and improve your pain. The procedure will likely be performed with local anesthesia to make you comfortable. They may also prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection if needed. Most people experience minimal pain after the procedure and can resume normal activity the next day.