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Ingrown toenails are a common podiatric ailment in nearly all ages. The inner or outer side of a toenail can cause pressure on the skin. If the pressure is great enough an infection can result. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper cutting of the nail. Cutting the nails too short allow the soft tissue on the tip of the toe to wrap around the nail. As the nail continues to grow it pushes on the skin causing pain and infection. Other causes include trauma, shoe or sock pressure and diseases of the nail that cause thickness. Bathroom surgery is not recommended as it is commonly painful and unsuccessful in resolving the problem. A simple in office minor podiatric procedure is commonly performed to resolve the problem on a permanent basis.

What You Should Know About Home Treatment

  • Don’t cut a notch in the nail. Contrary to what some people believe, this does not reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward.
  • Don’t repeatedly trim nail borders. Repeated trimming does not change the way the nail grows, and can make the condition worse.
  • Don’t place cotton under the nail. Not only does this not relieve the pain, it provides a place for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in infection.
  • Over-the-counter medications are ineffective. Topical medications may mask the pain, but they don’t correct the underlying problem.


Dr. Richard Perez, DPM - San Antonio Podiatrist Foot Doctor
This content was authored by: Dr. Richard Perez

Dr. Perez is board certified by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. His clinical interest include sports injuries, aesthetic bunion surgery, heel pain and resident education.