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An ingrown nail occurs when a nail grows into the flesh at the side of the nail. This usually affects the toes, particularly the big toe. People with curved or thick nails are most likely to develop a problem with ingrown nails, although ingrown nails can affect anyone.
Ingrown nails are most frequently caused by:
Most ingrown nail problems can be prevented by properly grooming the toenails and by wearing shoes that fit. Home treatment can often help relieve pain and allow the nail to grow out normally.
Medical treatment of an infected ingrown nail often includes oral antibiotics or topical ointments. A severely ingrown nail may have to be removed.
Last Revised: October 7, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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