ZocdocAnswersWhy do my ingrown toenails get infected sometimes?

Question

Why do my ingrown toenails get infected sometimes?

My one toenail on my big toe on the side always has a deep ingrown nail. It gets infected sometimes & I have to soak it & dig it out. My other big toe does not do this. Why does one get infected from the ingrown nail & notthe other? How can I make this stop?

Answer

Ingrown toenails are an unpleasant condition in which the nail digs into the skin of the nail fold, this leads to inflammation and can cause infection. The condition can be genetic, and it can also be related to tight or poorly fitting shoes and other similar factors. I cannot explain why one of your toenails seems to have this occur more than another. However, in addition to wearing loose well fitting shoes there are several things you can do to prevent this. First, make sure to keep your skin clean and dry and use a good antibacterial soap. Also make sure to properly trim your nails straight across. When you first notice some redness or swelling, you can begin to soak the foot and, as you have done, elevate the nail bed. If this does not work, and if you continue to experience episodes of infection, you may want to see a podiatrist, as they may be able to cut or file the nail, changing its shape as it grows and preventing future episodes. As always, if you do have an episode of infection and the area becomes very red and inflamed, you will need to see your doctor as lancing or oral antibiotics may be necessary.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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