When skin on one or both sides of a toenail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail grows into the skin, an ingrown toenail, or onychocryptosis, can occur. Redness, irritation, and swelling can follow and may result in an infection. Toenails that grow too large, stubbed toes, improperly cut toenails, or other traumas can cause the toenail to penetrate the skin. This can make it easy for germs to enter and cause infection. Ingrown toenails should therefore never go untreated. The affected foot should be soaked in warm, salty water and dried thoroughly. A mild antiseptic solution should be applied, and the toe should be bandaged. Your podiatrist can trim or remove the toenail if necessary.

Do you have a painful ingrown toenail? Do you suffer from any painful foot condition? Don’t hide behind these five dangerous words—maybe it will go away. Feet are vulnerable and prone to many complaints, but most problems don’t just disappear on their own. Your podiatrist can treat them efictively and efficiently with medication, surgery, or other less-invasive procedures such as exercise and orthotics. Don’t take your feet for granted—call us at Port Townsend Foot & Ankle Center, P.S., 385-6486, for an appointment. Located at 204 Gaines Street, office hours.

HINT: Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes make ingrown toenails worse.