Ingrown toenails are extremely painful and may lead to swelling and infection. They are caused primarily by incorrect nail trimming. They may also be caused or made worse by wearing shoes that are too short or tight around the toes. The best prevention is proper nail trimming and looser fitting shoes.
Some people have a predisposition to ingrown nails. This can be because of abnormally shaped nails or nail beds. Even if you are prone to ingrown toenails, they can still be avoided by proper foot care.
In order to prevent ingrown toenails, the nails should be cut straight across rather than in a curved shape. This will give the nails less opportunity to become imbedded in the surrounding tissue. You should also take precautions to protect your feet from trauma, such as wearing appropriate footwear for sports or working around potential hazards. Ingrown toenails are caused by pressure that forces the nail to grow into the flesh. Wearing shoes that do not squeeze or restrict your toes will help to minimize that pressure.
The most obvious symptom of an ingrown toenail is a stabbing pain to the side of the nail. If left untreated, swelling and infection can develop. You should never attempt to remove or dig out an ingrown toenail. Instead, seek treatment from a doctor. A doctor may be able to remove the ingrown portion of the nail or may need to remove a larger section of the toenail. Antibiotics will most likely be prescribed to treat or prevent infections associated with ingrown nails.
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