Ingrown Toenails – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ingrown toenails can be caused by a variety of factors including:

* Improper trimming

* Tight shoes

* Tight stockings

* High heels

* Genetics

* Trauma

* Toenail fungal infection

* Losing a nail

* Oversized toenails

* Arthritis

* Toes that curl

* Rounded toenails

* Frequent running


How do you know that you have an ingrown toenail? This condition exhibits some or all of the following symptoms:

* A nail that curves downward into the skin

* Pain, redness, swelling and warmth in the toe

* Extra skin with red, inflamed tissue growing around the point of the toenail

* Expression of a white, yellow or green fluid accompanied by a foul odour

* Chronic bleeding from the sides of the nail

* Fever (Rare, but may result from ingrown toenails.)


Home care may be considered initially for your ingrown toenail if symptoms are mild. However, if you have a pre-existent high-risk medical condition such as Diabetes, seek professional care immediately.

Home care may include the following recommendations:

* Soak feet in warm water with table salt

* Dry feet thoroughly with a clean towel

* Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area, such as rubbing alcohol or iodine

* Bandage the toe with sterile gauze to protect the toe while the ingrown nail heals

* You may wish to take non-prescription medications to relieve pain, but they will not treat the infection or cause of the ingrown toenail

Home care should NOT include the following:

* Repeated cutting of the toenail (if symptoms do not improve)

* Cutting toenail into the shape of a V (as this will not discourage toenail growth)

* Cotton under the toenail (as this will encourage the growth of bacteria)


Ingrown toenails should be treated by your Chiropodist as soon as they develop in order to prevent or treat an associated infection. Professional treatment may include any of the following options:

* Cutting the affected portion of the toenail that is buried in the surrounding skin. This usually relieves the pain immediately by eliminating the cause of the ingrown toenail, allowing the infection and pain to clear up

* Oral antibiotics can be prescribed to treat the toenail infection and pain

* Should the problem recur or persist, your Chiropodist may remove and cauterize the toenail root with a concentrated chemical solution to prevent the affected portion of the toenail from growing back. This technique permanently corrects the ingrown toenail, leaving no scars after healing

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they develop in order to prevent or treat an associated infection. If you are uncertain as to the severity of your ingrown toenail, seek advice from your Chiropodist immediately. Your Chiropodist will also be able to recommend a home care or a professional treatment plan that prevents the recurrence of this condition.