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At Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, we treat many patients with ingrown toenails. This condition occurs when the toenail grows back into the skin. It can cause extreme pain and tenderness and even lead to an infection if not treated promptly. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming.

Other possible causes include:

  • Congenital condition
  • Shoes that are too narrow or have excessively high heels—both of which force the toes together
  • Deformities such as bunions or overlapping toes
  • Trauma
  • Toenail fungus

Below are some do’s and don’ts for avoiding and treating ingrown toenails.

Do: trim nails relatively short.

Don’t: wear shoes that are too small for your feet. Avoid styles that cramp your toes and heels over 2 inches high.

Do: soak a toe that has an ingrown nail in warm, soapy water with Epsom salts. Gently massage the nail out of the skin and trim appropriately.

Don’t: attempt to cut the nail out or employ other “folk remedies,” such as sticking a piece of cotton under your nail to try to prevent ingrown nails.

Do: make an appointment at our offices in Bannockburn, Orland Park, Roselle or any of our other 16 conveniently located offices by calling 847-390-7666. Our podiatrists will examine your foot and treat your ingrown nail. In mild cases, the foot doctor may simply be able to cut the nail properly and alleviate the symptoms. In more severe or recurring cases, the podiatrist may numb the toe and remove a small section of the nail or treat the nail with a chemical solution to permanently prevent the section of the nail that is ingrown from growing back.

Don’t: delay contacting us if the area around the ingrown toenail is red, swollen and discharging pus or other fluid, or if you have a fever. These are all signs of possible infection and will require immediate medical attention.