Treatment for Ingrown Toenail Provided by Doctors at Mercy

Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore

An ingrown toenail is a commonly occurring condition in which the side of the nail digs into the tissue surrounding it. This condition can be diagnosed and treated by Mercy's experienced foot doctors.

About the Condition

An ingrown toenail is the one of most common toenail conditions our doctors treat. This painful condition occurs when the corners or sides of the nail dig into the soft tissue of the nail groove. This leads to the nail irritating the skin creating pain, redness, swelling and warmth to the toe. 

The big toe is the most common location for this to occur, but the lesser toes can also be affected. If the nail edge breaks through the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection with drainage and odor. Some people have a heredity tendency for ingrown toenails. Other causes may include improper trimming, trauma, shoe pressure, or nail diseases. 

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Drainage
  • Odor

 The diagnosis is made by clinical exam where the doctor will evaluate the nail borders.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment for an ingrown toenail can be accomplished in the office setting and does not require a trip to the operating room.

Home care includes:

  • Epsom salt soaks
  • Antibiotic ointment

The use of oral antibiotics may help reduce an underlying infection, but it does not correct the problem of the embedded nail border. 

Treatment can also be performed in the doctor's office:

  • A local anesthetic block is performed to numb the affected toe
  • The offending nail border is then surgically removed

Should some nails become ingrown again, removal of the nail root is usually then recommended. 

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