Although they can start out as a small nuisance, ingrown toenails can become a real problem if left untreated. Caused by a segment of the toenail that embeds in the skin around the nail, an ingrown toenail is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and a feeling of warmth in the affected toe. If the nail digs into the flesh around the nail and causes the skin to break, bacteria can enter, resulting in an infection. The infection can increase the level of pain in the toe and create additional problems.
While some people are prone to ingrown toenails and others are caused by improper nail trimming techniques, ingrown toenails can also be caused by trauma from repeated impact or stubbing the toe. Treatment for minor ingrown toenails can often be done in the home if you are in good health and if no infection is present. Soaking the foot to soften the skin and massaging the affected area can loosen the troublesome part of the nail.
If physician care is necessary, antibiotics may be prescribed to manage the infection and an outpatient surgery may be necessary to remove the offending nail. If you are in need of care for your ingrown toenail or are unsure how to properly care for your toenails, contact us today.