Ingrown Toenails

What are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail presses into the skin, usually along one side of the toenail. The area often is painful and may be red, swollen, or drain blood or pus.

What causes ingrown nails?

There are many causes for ingrown nails, including:

  • Poor nail cutting technique (cutting nails too short)
  • Tight-fitting, narrow-toed shoes
  • spoon-shaped nails

Many patients find that as they cut their nails short, the nail becomes ingrown, which causes the patient to cut the nail short again, which causes another ingrown and the cycle continues!

How do you treat ingrown nails?

Podiatrists usually treat with one of two options:

  • Temporary removal of the ingrowing portion of nail
  • Permanent removal of the ingrowing portion of nail

Patients experiencing an ingrown nail for the first time may be able to treat it successfully at home with simple methods such as epsom salt soaks. See our self-treatment page for a home-treatment protocol. First time ingrown nails may also respond to temporary removal.

Recurring or repeat ingrown nails are usually best treated with permanent removal of the ingrowing portion of nail.

Do I need antibiotics for my ingrown nail?

Most of the time simply removing the ingrowing portion of nail will alleviate the problem without need for antibiotics.