What are ingrown nails?
Ingrown nails, the most common toenail problem, occur when the nail borders curve into the soft tissue of nail grooves. Ingrown nails cause pressure and pain along the nail borders. The edge of the nail may cut into the skin, causing redness, swelling, pain, drainage and infection.
What causes ingrown nails?
Ingrown toenails are most commonly caused by shoe pressure. Ingrown toenails are also caused by:
Improperly trimmed nails
Crowding of toes
Repeated trauma to the feet from normal activities (such as running, walking or doing aerobics)
How can I prevent ingrown nails?
Cut your toenails after bathing, when they are soft
Trim toenails evenly across the front edge of the nail.
After clipping, smooth toenails with a file or emery board
Avoid wearing tight, restrictive shoes
How can ingrown nails be treated?
Following the preventative steps above can help you avoid the need for treatment. To relieve discomfort from ingrown toenails, soak your foot in a solution of lukewarm water and epsom salt for 10 minutes, then apply an antiseptic and bandage the area.
If self-care measures are unsuccessful or if you have a nail infection, you may need a Podiatrist's care. Ingrown nails may be corrected with surgery by removing part of the toenail and growth plate. Continuing to care for your nails properly and wearing well-fitting footwear can help you prevent ingrown nails from recurring.