Symptoms: An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail curves down into the surrounding flesh instead of growing out over the top of your toe.

Prevention: Cutting toenails straight across instead of rounding them off. Wearing shoes and socks that fit properly.
Diabetics are also affected by ingrown toenails due to poor circulation.

Treatment:If your toe isn't too swollen, and the nail hasn't burrowed into the flesh yet, it may be possible to treat it yourself. You'll do this by trying to guide the nail past the area into which it's curving. Once the nail has dug deeper into the flesh, though, it's best to go to a podiatrist. If the surrounding area is red and inflamed or oozing pus, don't try to cut the nail out yourself--you won't be able to cut it as well as your doctor can, and the possibility of an untreated infection is too great a risk.

Surgery may also be needed to remove the nail and or skin surrounding the nail.

Ingrown Toenails are hereditary (believe it or not) and are caused by an infection beneath the edge of the nail. The body treats the edge of the nail as part of the infection and tries to fight it off. This causes the affected area to swell up a great deal due to a buildup of puss. This buildup makes the area very sensitive (i.e. it hurts like hell).

This infection can now be remedied by a simple, painless procedure performed by a podiatrist.

  1. In the week preceding the procedure the patient is placed on antibiotics and Domeboro astringent solution (toe soak) to reduce the swelling in the affected area.
  2. The patient is given 4 shots of Novocaine spaced equidistantly around the base of the infected toe.
  3. The edge of the toenail is pried up out of the toe and cut all the way back to the root.
  4. The root is cauterized with a CO2 laser so that the portion of the toenail that has a tendency to become ingrown will not grow back.
  5. The patient will be able to walk out of the office immediately following the procedure and will only feel a minor throbbing as the Novocaine wears off. The patient will also need to continue to use the Domeboro solution for a few weeks following the procedure.

I’ve had surgery for ingrown toenails twice. The first time was a procedure like the one BugDozer describes. The second one (the one described above) was far less painful.

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