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Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions we see in our offices. The problem is just what its name implies. The nail plate is too large for the under covering or bed and one or both sides are pressing into the skin. Ingrown nails can result from several possible causes such as improper cutting, abnormal nail structure and localized injury to the plate. The appearance of the toe involved may range from a sensitive redness and slight inflammation to a full-blown infection of the toe with pus and bleeding usually evident. The object of course, is to prevent the infectious stage from taking place and to remedy the problem earlier in its development.
Adequate prevention of ingrown nails can be accomplished in most cases by proper trimming and judicious self-care. The nail plate should be carefully trimmed so as to follow the fleshy curve at the end of the toe. Under no circumstance, should a sharp instrument be used or inserted to cut diagonally back into the corners of the nail. Leaving a jagged nail edge, a loose piece, or inadvertently cutting the skin can predictably lead to problems. In those cases where injury has occurred with a subsequent ingrown nail, professional assistance by a foot specialist is suggested. The doctor is well trained and equipped to treat such a problem and with little to no discomfort to the patient.
Ingrown nails may seem simple enough but in actuality have sidelined many a person from his or her daily activities. These annoying and painful nail conditions are frequently encountered in various athletic activities. Soccer, jogging, racquet sports, football, basketball, and baseball all involve running and often lead to digital problems such as ingrown nails. Antibiotic medication, disinfectant soaks, and inactivity are not the total solution. It is essential to reduce and/or remove the offending spicule or nail edge that is causing the problem. Sometimes this can be done to give temporary relief or attempt to permanently correct the condition.