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Ingrown toenails

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Description

Ingrown toenails are common. They happen when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the skin around it. This can cause pain, redness and swelling.

Ingrown toenails can also cause infection, which can be serious if you have certain health conditions. These include diabetes or other conditions that cause poor blood flow to the feet. You’re also at risk if you’ve had a joint replacement or have a pacemaker.

To prevent ingrown toenails, wear properly fitting shoes. Also, trim the toenails straight across and not too short.


Causes

There are several causes of ingrown toenails. These include family history, improperly cutting the toenails and wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly. Children often get ingrown toenails when they tear their toenails instead of trimming them with a nail clipper.


Treatment

Treatment for ingrown nails is usually painless and depends on the problem:

  • For a slightly ingrown nail, a doctor may trim or remove the ingrown part of the nail. 
  • For severe problems, a doctor may use an acid to kill the root of the nail. 
  • In severe cases, the entire nail may be removed.

There are very few complications with these treatments. Sometimes ingrown toenails can recur. Infections can be controlled with antibiotics. To prevent ingrown toenails, wear properly fitting shoes. Also, trim the toenails straight across and not too short.

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