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How to Avoid and Treat Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be a pain in the foot…literally.  If you have ever had one then you will know that to be a fact. Ingrown toenails are also known as unguis incarnates or onychocryptosis.  This happens when one of the top corners of the nail actually begins to grow into the skin at the side or the end of the toe.  If left untreated it could cause severe pain and necessitate surgical procedures in order to correct it.  While this condition is generally found on the big toe, it can happen on any toe.


Symptoms include pain and redness with some possible swelling around the area.  If you do not take care of it right away, you will be asking for more pain, extra tissue growing there as well as yellowish fluid that will drain from the site.

If the nail is still left untreated then it could lead to infection or even an abscess in the toe.  That will need surgical attention.  In rare cases it can cause osteomyelitis, which is an infection in the bone.


Ingrown toenails are caused by many things.  They can include wearing shoes that are too tight and squeeze the toes, improper cutting of the toenails, fungal infections, an injury to the nail and even genetics.


You can treat this condition at home if you are not diabetic.  You can do this in multiple ways.  The first way is to soak your foot four times a day in plain warm water.  Wash it twice a day using a mild soap and water.  Wear open toe shoes until it clears up.  Take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  Raise the corner that is ingrown up and put a small piece of cotton under it.  This may cause pain but when done every day you will see an improvement.


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