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Ingrown Toenails and How to Treat Them

If you ever experienced a case of ingrown toenail, you know that what begins as a nuisance, can quickly become a painful infection that can require medical treatment. According to Podiatrists, more than 5% of the population suffer from ingrown toenails, yet people hold many misconceived notions about treating the condition.

What is an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown ToenailsAn ingrown toenail is a condition where the edges of the toenail are bent and grow into the skin of the toe. The result is pressure, itching, swelling and pain. In many cases, the nail breaks the skin, which usually leads to an infection, and in extreme cases it may require surgical intervention.

The main causes of ingrown toenails are:

  • Heredity: Ingrown toenails have been shown to be a trait that is passed down.
  • Improper trimming: Cutting your toenail too short may cause the skin to grow over it.
  • Improperly sized footwear: Tight shoes can push the toenail down and into the skin.
  • Trauma to the toe: Suffering a trauma to the toe can cause the nail to start growing into the skin.
  • The condition of the toenail: Fungal infections can lead to ingrown toenails.
Ingrown Toenails

Myths & Facts:

Myth: Getting a pedicure every 2-4 weeks will effectively treat an ingrown toenail.

Fact: Only a Podiatrist is licensed to treat the pathology of an ingrown toenail.

Myth: Cutting your nails short enough will stop toenails from ingrowing.

Fact: Cutting toenails too short can lead to ingrowing. It’s better to cut them straight across.

Myth: “Bathroom Surgery” is an effective way to stop ingrown toenails.

Fact: Many cases of infected toenails are a result of “Bathroom Surgery”.

Myth: Getting a podiatrist to treat the ingrown is painful.

Fact: Podiatrists use a local anesthesia and the procedures are painless.

A few suggestions for home treatment:

1. Soak your foot in warm salt water for 15 minutes, twice a day. Be sure to dry your foot completely after the soak.

2. Only wear shoes that don’t put pressure on your toes. The pressure will push the nail into the toe, exacerbating the situation.

3. If your toes are swollen and painful, try pulling the skin gently away from the toe. This may release some pus – if so, wash the area, apply disinfectant and use a cotton swab to apply antibiotic cream.

*In a case of an infected toenail, see a Podiatrist as soon as possible. 

Ingrown Toenails
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