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Posted on: April 13, 2015 at 4:12 pm
Last updated: September 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I wouldn’t wish an ingrown toenail on my worst enemy; they are painful and unpleasant to look at. An ingrown toenail, if it breaks the skin surrounding it, can even cause infections that will make the pain even worse. If your toe is red, swollen, oozing, hot and has a foul odor, you probably have an infection.

But first, are any of your toenails ingrown? There are five ways you could have become the victim of an unruly toenail.

Genes

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If one or more of your parents have a tendency to develop ingrown toe nails, you probably have that tendency as well.

Shoes That Don’t Fit Right

If you compromise comfort for style, or for any other reason why you continuously wear a pair of shoes that don’t fit right, your nails will have limited growing room and slowly grow inward.

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“Ouch! I Stubbed My Toe!”

Toe trauma, such as stubbing or jamming your toe, or dropping something on your toe, can cause an ingrown toenail. Also, if you put repeated pressure on your toes through various activities such as ballet, running, or soccer, an ingrown toenail is likely to develop.

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Improper Trimming

If you get clipper happy, meaning that you snip away at your nails a little more than you ought to, the skins at the sides of your nails will fold over the nail and your nail will grow inward.

Pedicures

You may have thought you were treating your nails with this indulgence, but in the hands of an inexperienced nail technician, your nails may get cut way too far back, increasing the likelihood of your toenail growing in your skin.

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Ok so you were born with it or you had a case of bad judgement. Now what?

If your ingrown toenail is not infected you can treat it at home. Simply soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salts and a mild detergent, apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage the area. Alternatively, you could remove it yourself. Soak your feet in a warm bath with Epsom salts to soften the skin and reduce inflammation.

Then, using clean, nail cutting tools, clip off the affected area and apply antibiotic ointment when you’re done.

However, if your toenail is infected, it is best to see a podiatrist. For more information, visit the Cleveland Clinic.

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