Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the nails dig into the soft tissue of nail grooves, causing pain, irritation, inflammation, and swelling. The big toe is the most commonly affected, but ingrown toenails can occur on any of the other toes as well. If the nail breaks the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection. Some of the causes of ingrown toenails include trauma, heredity, tight shoes, nail conditions, and improper trimming of the nails,
Most of the time, ingrown nail issues are self-limited and tend to resolve on their own, but any discoloration or infection on or about the nail that does not resolve on its own should be evaluated by a podiatric physician. In certain cases, the nail can just be trimmed, but other times, a small procedure may need to be performed to remove the sharp part of the nail, and the patient may be given an antibiotic to help prevent worsening of any infection.