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Ingrown Toenails

Edges of toenails that press into the flesh can cause pain, swelling, redness, and even infection. Your skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail. Treatments include special chemicals, lasers, and various ways to remove the edge of the nail that presses into the skin.

Ingrown toenails are often caused by trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes. When trimming your nails, avoid tapering the corners so that the nail curves with the shape of your toe. This can cause the sides of the nail to curl down and dig into your skin. Shoes that are too tight or short also may cause ingrown toenails.

Soaking your feet in warm, soapy water several times each day is usually a good way to treat an ingrown nail. Also, you can try inserting some cotton or waxed dental floss between the nail and your skin. If these remedies do not solve the problem, check with a podiatrist. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail plate avulsion) may need to be surgically removed if an acute infection occurs. The procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.

You can prevent ingrown toenails by:
• Trimming your toenails straight across with no rounded corners
• Ensuring that your shoes and socks are not too tight
• Keeping your feet clean at all times.
More on ingrown toenails

Contributed by Gene Mirkin, DPM

Checked 3/11/17

August 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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