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What Are Ingrown Toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when a corner or side of a toenail grows into the flesh of the toe, resulting in pain, redness, swelling and infection. Ingrown toenails are very common, generally affect the big toe, and can be caused by wearing shoes that crowd the toenails, cutting nails too short, injury to the toe or unusually curved nails.
When to See a Specialist
If you have diabetes, nerve damage or poor circulation, ingrown toenails can be especially problematic, and we recommend seeing a podiatrist for proper treatment. In addition, if you’re experiencing pain or if your ingrown toenails have become infected, make an appointment with one of our experienced foot and ankle specialists for an evaluation and discussion of your treatment options.
Treatment for Ingrown Toenails
After examination, your South Shore Foot & Ankle podiatrist will discuss all your treatment options with you. Conservative treatments can include lifting the toenail so that it grows free of the flesh of the toe as well as partial toenail removal. If the ingrown toenail has become infected, antibiotics may be prescribed.
If ingrown toenails recur frequently, your podiatrist may recommend a surgical procedure called a nail avulsion, which includes the removal of a portion of the toenail and the underlying nail bed, preventing the problematic part of your toenail from growing back.
Toenail Fungus and Other Toenail Disorders
If your toenails are thick, yellow and have white spots and streaks, you may have toenail fungus. While generally not painful or harmful, toenail fungi are contagious, and are often spread around swimming pools and locker rooms. The risk for infection increases as you age. We recommend making an appointment for examination and treatment if you have complicating factors like diabetes or circulation issues.