Ingrown toenails are very common. It's a very painful condition that occurs when the skin on the side of a toenail grows over the edge of the nail, or when the nail grows into the skin.
Ingrown toenails can develop for many reasons. In some cases, the toenails are simply too long. Trauma, such as stubbing a toe or having someone step on it can cause the nail to jam into the skin. Incorrect cutting and also cause them. Many times they are a hereditary condition because of the shape of the toes or nails.
Ingrown nails should be treated as soon as possible. If the skin is red, painful, or swollen on the sides of the nail, there may be an infection. The ingrown nail can produce a bacteria-rich environment that can cause an infection. The infection must be treated quickly by numbing the toe and trimming it out followed sometimes with antibiotics.
The patient can self treat with mild antiseptic solution to the area and soaking in antibacterial soap with some water. If this doesn't improve it within 24 hours then see a podiatrist.
If you have to see us for treatment we first numb the toe before we treat it. If the problem has never occurred before then trimming out the ingrown nail should solve the problem. If the nail is a recurrent problem then permanent excision of a small portion of the nail with a chemical solution can be done; it heals over 7 to 10 days. Normally no time off from work is necessary.