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Ingrown Toenails, Corns, and Calluses

Diagnosing Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is very common, and occurs when the nail grows into the skin of the toe causing inflammation, pain and possibly infection. It can be caused by trauma (stubbing the toe), incorrectly cutting the toenails, or by wearing shoes that are too tight. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, redness, infection, and soreness. Ingrown toenails should be treated immediately.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

If caught before infection sets in, you may be able to treat an ingrown toenail at home. Soak the foot in warm water several times a day, and keep it dry otherwise. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting shoes – consider going barefoot or wearing sandals when possible. You may be able to gently lift the edge of the nail and insert cotton under the edge, which should be removed and replaced daily. If the condition worsens or does not improve in a few days, make a doctor’s appointment immediately. If the toenail becomes inflamed, swollen, excessively painful, or begins to discharge pus, antibiotics may be necessary and part of the nail may need to be surgically removed.

Corns and Calluses

A callus is thickened skin that develops as a result of pressure over a bony prominence on the foot, such as under the metatarsal head. A corn occurs when a callus forms over a toe, and is usually caused by deformity like a claw toe, hammertoe or bunionette. Soft corns develop between toes, and hard corns occur over the bony prominences. Corns and calluses may be painful. Initial treatment involves callus shaving and triggering, as well as comfortable shoes that do not apply pressure on the bone. If pain is persistent surgery may be needed to correct deformities or remove bony prominences.