Harvard Women's Health Watch

Foot health: What to do about an ingrown toenail

Foot health

What to do about an ingrown toenail

Warm soaks and proper nail trimming may do the trick, but sometimes it's best to see a foot specialist right away.

The medical term for this painful condition is onychocryptosis. It develops, usually on the big toe, when a corner of the toenail curves down and digs into the skin. The symptoms may include soreness, swelling, redness, and warmth. If the toenail breaks the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection. Eventually, skin may start to grow over the ingrown part of the nail.

You can do several things at home to treat an ingrown toenail. However, if you suspect an infection, or if you have diabetes, circulation problems, or numbness in the toes, skip the home remedies and see your clinician or a foot specialist immediately.

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