Ingrown Toenails

Foot & Ankle Information Sites:

FootPhysicians.com: An excellent web site run by the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons for patients. There are pod casts on various foot problems as well as other useful information. Dr. Mary Crawford was the first female president of this organization in March 2009.

Clinical Practice Guidelines: From American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons on bunions, flatfoot, and diabetic foot. Technical language is used but treatment pathways are outlines and documents are well illustrated.

Textbook of Hallux Valgus and Forefoot Surgery: This is a 500 page textbook on foot surgery that is available on line on PDF files. This has technical language but can provide some useful insights to bunion and other forefoot surgery.

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Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, is usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes. They may also be caused by shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. A common ailment, ingrown toenails can be painful. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.

In most cases, treating ingrown toenails is simple: soak the foot in warm, soapy water several times each day. Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications. In severe cases, if an acute infection occurs, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. Known as partial nail plate avulsion, the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented by:

  • Trimming toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
  • Ensuring that shoes and socks are not too tight.
  • Keeping feet clean at all times.