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Ingrown Toenail

This common problem happens when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin of your toe instead of over it. The nail may dig in deep. And that can be very painful.

Overview

This common problem happens when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin of your toe instead of over it. The nail may dig in deep. And that can be very painful.

Causes

An ingrown toenail can develop if your shoes are too tight, which puts pressure on your toes. It can happen if you don't trim your toenails correctly. Trimming a nail too short or rounding the edges can cause one to form. You're more likely to get one if you have very thick nails, or if poor eyesight or flexibility makes it hard for you to take care of your toenails. You can get an ingrown toenail after a toe injury, or if you pick or tear at your nails. And, some people just have large toenails, or toenails that curve down at the edges, and this can lead to ingrown toenails.

Symptoms

An ingrown toenail is most common in the big toe, but it can happen in any toe. It causes pain, redness and swelling in the skin on the side of the toenail. If you don't treat it, an ingrown toenail can get worse. It can lead to an infection.

Treatment

If your ingrown toenail isn't severe, and if you have good circulation in your legs and feet, you may be able to treat it at home. But a severe or infected ingrown toenail needs to be treated by a doctor. If it's infected, you may be given antibiotics. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that's right for you.

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