Ingrown Toenails

Is the side of your toenail red, swollen and painful?  Does it keep growing back that way no matter how you cut it?  Do you fear going to the podiatrist because you are afraid he will have to take the whole nail off?  You are not alone.  Many people try to treat their own ingrown nails just for that reason.  An ingrown toenail is a common, often painful, form of nail disease in which the nail grows so that it cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed.
Signs and Symptoms
The nail appears red and swollen and is often painful.  Blood or pus could be present and eventually it can become infected.  The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming.  Cutting your nails too short can cause the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail.  Wearing shoes that are too tight or short can cause this problem.  Ingrown nails can also be the result of trauma such as dropping an object on your toe or stubbing your toe.  Also, sports that put pressure on the toe from activities such as running or kicking can be a factor.
Treatment for an ingrown toenail varies depending on how severe the problem is.   A simple, in-office surgical procedure is used to remove the offending border of the toenail. It generally involves numbing the toe and removing a small border of nail.  In some situations, removal of the entire nail may be necessary.  If the ingrown toenail is found to be recurrent, permanent removal of the problem nail border may be required to prevent it from coming back.  This involves destroying the nail root to prevent further growth of that portion of toenail.

The best possible treatment available is the prevention of ingrown toenail to begin with.  Proper trimming of the nails help to prevent ingrown toenails.  Toenails should generally be cut straight across and not too short.  Also, avoid poorly fitting shoes, especially ones that are tight in the toebox. If you notice the start of an ingrown toenail, avoid treating yourself by trying to dig it out yourself.  You could cause more damage and it could lead to infection.

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