• What is?
  • Causes
  • Treatment

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a very common and painful condition of the toe. The big toenail is most commonly affected but, any of the toenails can be involved. It is more common in adults however; it can be seen in infants, children, and teenagers. It occurs when the nail grows in and buries itself in the skin at the end or side of the toe. And is associated with pain and inflammation at the site where the nail sticks into the skin.

If left untreated the ingrown nail can progress into an infection or abscess that may require a surgical procedure to treat the nail and the toe.


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Causes

Ingrown toenails can be caused by many conditions that include:

  • Pressure. Pressure from tight-fitting shoes or high heels cause toe compression and lead to abnormal growth of the nail.

  • Improper trimming. Improper trimming of toenails which causes the nails to dig into the skin.

  • Nail disorders. Nail disorders, such as fungal infections can deform the nail making it thicker and wider causing the nail to irritate the skin.

  • Repetitive trauma. Repetitive trauma to the nail also is a known culprit of ingrown nails.

  • Genetic component. Unfortunately there is a genetic component. Some people have incurvated or rounded nails that irritate and dig into the skin which can increase the chances of developing ingrown nails as well as an infection.

If you think you have an ingrown toenail or if this runs in your family, call us for an evaluation. The sooner the better.

Treatment

For mild cases the offending nail can be trimmed and the sharp painful piece of the nail can be removed. If it is too painful, a local anesthetic can be used so the procedure is painless. Then an aseptic bandage is applied. However, since ingrown nails tend to return so regular, trimming and treatment may be required. If the problem continues to persist in the nail, there is a surgical option that is more permanent. This procedure can be done in the office. The toe is numbed with a local anesthetic and the nail (partial or whole nail) is then removed and an acid treatment is performed to the root of the nail which prevents it from growing back.

If you think you may have an ingrown nail or have any questions regarding treatment options, you can easily make an appointment with the doctors of Atlantic Foot and Ankle Specialists at any of our five locations, Savannah, Hinesville, Statesboro, Claxton, or Bluffton.

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