Your Top 3 Questions About Ingrown Toenails, Answered

Foot care tips

If your big toe is red, painful and swollen, your toenail may actually be to blame: You might have onychocryptosis, which is just a scary name for an ingrown toenail. This occurs when the corner of a nail grows into the surrounding soft flesh. Here are some questions you probably have about this very common condition that can put you on the path to ingrown toenail relief:

  1. What Are the Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails?

    Although ingrown toenails can occur on any toe, they’re most frequent on the big (“great”) toes. Early symptoms include the redness and pain mentioned earlier, but as ingrown toenails progress, they may start to bleed, especially when pressure is applied. It’s also common for ingrown toenails to become infected, resulting in a yellowish pus.

  2. What Are the Causes of Ingrown Toenails?

    Ingrown toenails can be caused by a number of factors, most of which you can control. The most common are wearing ill-fitting shoes that crowd the toes and cutting nails in a curved, rather than straight, line. Poor foot hygiene or playing certain sports (tennis, soccer and basketball, in particular, since they involve a lot of rapid starting and stopping) can increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails. Other conditions, such as arthritis, lower limb edema, bunions or diabetes can also place you at higher risk for ingrown toenails.

  3. What Are the Treatments for Ingrown Toenails?

    Ingrown toenail treatments vary depending on the severity of the condition. Very basic ingrown toenail treatment involves soaking your feet in hot water at home and wearing loose or open-toed shoes until the problem resolves. But if the condition worsens (or if you have complicating diseases such as diabetes), you should make an appointment with a foot and ankle doctor (a podiatrist). He or she may lift the nail and place a filler beneath it, partially remove it, or perform ingrown toenail surgery to fully remove the nail and surrounding tissue. In addition, your doctor can prescribe antibiotic pills or creams if the level of infection requires.

Do you have any other ingrown toenail remedies to share, or strategies to get ingrown toenail relief? Join the discussion in the comments.

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