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Injury Prevention and Safety

constant ingrown toenails

11/06/2006

Question:

I keep getting ingwon toenails,only on both my big toes,I cut them straight across and I wear shoes that gice plenty of room,but they continue growing and are very very painful.Is there something else I can do to relieve the pain ?Or get rid of them for good ? Thank you

Answer:

You have addressed the two main causes of ingrown toe nails - tight shoes and rounded cutting of toe nails. Other common causes are wearing high heels that cause the toe nails to bump against the shoe and hereditary causes. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about hereditary causes.

The first line of treatment is to soak your feet for 15-20 minutes in warm water, then wedge part of a cotton ball under the edges of the ingrown nails until they grow out enough for the straight trim across.

However, when there is redness, swelling, pain, and drainage, you really do need to see the doctor or a podiatrist because these are the signs of infection. You probably know this already.

Since this is a chronic problem, you might want to discuss ablation of part of the nailbed with your doctor. This avoids removal of the whole nail. With local anesthetic, the doctor renoves the ingrown part of the nail and uses electrocautery or a medication to kill the nailbed tissue at the corners of your nail. This prevents regrowth of the nail in the problem areas.

I hope this information is helpful.

 

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University