An ingrown toenail occurs when the curved nail grows into the surrounding skin, usually at the nail borders. This causes irritation of the skin resulting in pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe. If the ingrown toenail causes a break in the skin, it can result in bacteria getting into the area, which in turn causes infection. This infection is typified by drainage and a foul odor. Even without pain, redness, or swelling, an ingrown toenail can result in an infection. Causes of ingrown toenails can be hereditary, as a response to trauma, improper trimming, improperly sized footwear, and nail conditions such as fungal infections. To prevent ingrown toenails, nails should be trimmed in a straight line, without cutting them too short. Well-fitting shoes and socks are also attributed to avoiding ingrown toenails. Sometimes an in-office minor surgical procedure is warranted to ease pain and remove the offending nail.
“Ingrown toenails can be very painful, and they usually worsen in stages. If the nail is very painful, getting worse, or showing signs of infection, the afflicted person should seek medical intervention.”