An ingrown toenail is a common condition in which the corner or side of one of your toenails grows into the soft flesh of that toe. Signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail include pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail, redness around your toenail, swelling of your toe around the nail and infection of the tissue around your toenail.
Common causes of an ingrown toenail include wearing shoes that crowd your toes, cutting your toenails too short or not straight across, injury to your toenail or unusually curved toenails.
Left untreated or undetected, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection.
Often, you can take care of ingrown toenails on your own (see home remedies below). However, if the pain is severe or spreading, your doctor can take steps to relieve your discomfort and help you avoid complications of an ingrown toenail.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor circulation to your feet, you're at greater risk of complications from an ingrown toenail. Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes because the circulation and nerve supply to your feet can be impaired. Therefore, any relatively minor injury to your foot (cut, scrape, corn, callus or ingrown toenail) may not heal properly and lead to infection. A difficult-to-heal open sore (foot ulcer) may require surgery to prevent gangrene (the decay and death of tissue resulting from an interruption in blood flow to a certain area of your body).
You can typically treat ingrown toenails through lifestyle and home remedies, such as soaking your foot regularly in warm water and applying an antibiotic cream. If pain continues or there's pus or redness that seems to be spreading, see your doctor. You may need to have part of the nail removed and antibiotics prescribed for infection. See your doctor if you experience severe discomfort in your toe or pus or redness that seems to be spreading, have diabetes or any circulation impairment to your lower extremities and experience any foot-sore or infection.
Possible medical ingrown toenail treatments include:
Cotton under nail.