An ingrown toenail is a condition in which one or more of the edges of a toenail grows into the skin of the toe.
Usually one or both sides of the toenail dig into the flesh surrounding the nail. This often causes pain and inflammation.
Ingrown toenails are most commonly seen in the great or big toe, but any toe can be affected. Symptoms may include: increased warmth in the affected toepainpus coming out of the toe, if an infection occursrednessswellinga toenail that can be seen growing abnormally into the skin
A person has a higher risk of developing this condition if he or she: has diabeteshas circulation problems in the feethas curved toenailsclips his or her toenails too short or allows the nails to become too longwears shoes that fit too tightlyhas thickened toenails
Comfortable, well-fitting shoes help to prevent ingrown toenails. Toenails should be trimmed regularly but not cut too short. People who have diabetes or circulation problems are often advised to have a foot specialist, known as a podiatrist, cut their toenails.
Diagnosis of ingrown toenail is based on the appearance of the toe and nail plate.
Ingrown toenails can be quite painful, but the most worrisome long-term effect is infection. When a person has diabetes or circulation problems, the infection can be quite serious. It may lead to complications such as a diabetic foot ulcer or sepsis, a widespread blood infection. Foot amputation or even death can result in this setting if the condition is not treated early.
Ingrown toenails are not contagious, and pose no risk to others.
Minor surgery is performed to remove all or part of the toenail. Special devices or even cotton balls may be placed under the edge of the toenail as it grows back to prevent the problem from happening again. Antibiotics are given for any infection present.
Surgery can be complicated by bleeding, infection, or reactions to anesthesia. Antibiotics can cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, and skin rash.
After recovery, people are generally able to go back to normal activities. People who have diabetes or circulation problems often require further treatment and monitoring.
People with diabetes or circulation problems need to examine their own feet daily. They need to make regular visits to the healthcare professional, to whom any new or worsening symptoms should be reported.
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