Ingrown Toenails

What are ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail is when the corners of the nail grow into the skin. When the nail grows into the skin it causes pain, redness and swelling. If the nail breaks the skin it can lead to a serious infection, which is accompanied by drainage and a foul smell. 


There are many causes of ingrown toenails, including:

  • Heredity - it is common for many people to inherit a tendency to develop ingrown nails.

  • Bad Trimming - the most common cause of ingrown toenails. Cutting your nails too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the toenail. 

  • Small/Tight Shoes - wearing socks and shoes that are tight or short can result in ingrown toenails.

  • Trauma - ingrown toenails can result from trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object fall on the toe or any activity that involves repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.

  • Nail Conditions - nail problems such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma can lead to ingrown toenails. 


Treatment of an ingrown nail depends upon the the severity of the symptoms.

  • Nail Avulsion - a procedure where the patient is numbed with a local anesthetic and the nail is trimmed, usually just along the offending edge, and removed. 

  • Nail Matrixectomy - this procedure is recommended when the ingrown nail reoccurs frequently. It involves a nail avulsion followed by the application of a chemical designed to kill the nail root, preventing the nail from regrowing. 

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