This is a common condition in which the corner or side of one of toenails grows into the soft flesh of that toe. The result is pain, redness, swelling and, sometimes, an infection. An ingrown toenail usually affects big toe.
Signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail
Redness around your toenail
Swelling of your toe around the nail
Infection of the tissue around your toenail
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you:
Experience severe discomfort in your toe or pus or redness that seems to be spreading
Have diabetes or any circulation impairment to your lower extremities and experience any foot sore or infection
Ingrown toenails result when the nail grows into the flesh of your toe, often the big toe.
Common causes include:
Wearing shoes that crowd toenails (tightfitting shoes
Cutting toenails too short or not straight across
Injury to toenail
Unusually curved toenails
Left untreated or undetected, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection.
Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes, because the circulation and nerve supply to your feet can be impaired.
Lifting the nail. For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no discharge), the doctor may place cotton, dental floss or a splint under the edge of the nail to separate the nail from the overlying skin. This helps the nail eventually grow above the skin edge.
Partially removing your nail. For a more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain and pus), the doctor may trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Before this procedure, doctor may temporarily numb your toe by injecting it with an anesthetic.
Removing nail and tissue. For a recurrent ingrown toenail, the doctor may suggest removing a portion of your toenail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed) to prevent that part of nail from growing back. This procedure can be done with a chemical, a laser or other methods.