Ingrown toenails most commonly occur on the big toenails, however, can occur on any digit. They are often the result of trimming your toenails too short, but in many cases there is a predisposition to recurrent ingrown nails due to a thickened tissue at the nail borders. Shoes that are too tight or short also may exacerbate this condition. Initially, the nail acts as a foreign body, causing pain, inflammation, and redness. If left untreated, this will advance to an infection. Patients with diabetes or poor healing may develop a cellulitis. Antibiotics may sometimes be prescribed if an infection is present.
The offending border of the ingrown toenail (partial nail avulsion) most often needs to be removed if an acute infection occurs. The procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail. If the problem is recurrent, a more permanent solution may be to remove and sterilize the nail root. These procedures are routinely performed in our office under local anesthesia and require minimal post-operative care.