Ingrown toenails are a common and often painful condition that can affect anyone, but is especially common in people who wear tight shoes or socks. An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner or side of the toenail grows into the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. In some cases, an infection can develop.
Ingrown toenails can be caused by a variety of factors, including wearing shoes that are too tight, cutting the toenail too short, or having an injury to the toe. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, are also more likely to develop ingrown toenails.
The most common symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain and tenderness in the affected toe. The toe may also be red and swollen, and there may be drainage from the area. If an infection develops, the area may be warm to the touch and there may be a foul odor.
Treatment for an ingrown toenail depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, soaking the foot in warm water and wearing loose-fitting shoes may be enough to relieve the pain and allow the toenail to grow out. If the condition is more severe, a doctor may need to trim the toenail or remove part of it. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to treat an infection.
Preventing ingrown toenails is the best way to avoid the condition. Wearing shoes that fit properly and cutting the toenails straight across can help. People with diabetes should take extra care to keep their feet clean and dry, and should see a doctor if they develop any signs of an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable, but with proper care and treatment, they can usually be managed. If you think you may have an ingrown toenail, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.