Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, are usually caused by trimming toenails too short, shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. A common ailment, ingrown toenails can be painful. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. If the nail is significantly dug into the skin, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. Known as partial nail plate avulsion, the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail. This can be done on a temporary or permanent basis. The procedure is usually performed in the office, and the patient is usually able to resume normal activities in a very short amount of time.