Ingrown Toenails

Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are painful and cause the surrounding skin to become red and swollen. The nail becomes embedded in the surrounding skin, and the body elicits a foreign body response. This response is infection accompanied by the usual signs of redness, swelling, drainage and pus.

As infection becomes more severe, pain may subside because the bacteria change the environment in which they are breeding, and causes numbness. In more advanced cases, a large fleshy growth will develop over the nail plate (granuloma), and in most severe cases, the infection can lead to osteomyelistis, which is an infection of the underlying bone.

What are the causes of ingrown toenails?
Improper cutting, trimming, or tearing of the nail corners most often cause the problem. In addition, ingrown nails may result from injury, genetic irregularities, curvature of the nail, sports, improperly fit shoes, improper pedicures, and occasionally chemotherapy.

What is the treatment?
If infection, pain, redness, swelling, local heat and/or drainage persists then you should consult with a podiatrist. Simple trimming of the ingrown toenail may relieve symptoms. In more advanced cases, a local anesthetic will need to be administered prior to removing part of the ingrown toenail. Severe infections will require oral antibiotics. Repeated problems with ingrown toenails require a surgical nail procedure to prevent recurrence.

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