What is an Ingrown Nail?
Ingrown toenails are when the edges or corners of the nail grow into the skin next to the nail. They typically affect the big toes, but any toe can be affected. The affected toe becomes painful and often becomes infected.
Many things can cause an ingrown toenail including cutting the nails incorrectly, wearing footwear that places pressure on the big toes, toenail injury and nails that are infected with fungus. However, sometimes the nail just naturally grows into the skin.
Wearing proper shoe gear that does not cause pressure on the toes, and cutting the nails straight across can reduce the chances of getting an ingrown nail. Do not cut the nails at an angle as this can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.
An ingrown nail can be very painful. Early stages include pain and swelling at the skin next to the nail. If the toe becomes infected, you may notice redness, increased swelling, drainage such as pus, and overgrowth of skin around the nail.
When to Seek Treatment
Pain is a very legitimate reason to seek treatment. However, if your skin is infected, then you should seek treatment immediately.
You and your physician will determine the best course of treatment. But different treatment options include warm water and Epson salt soaks, antibitiotics and removal of part or the entire nail.