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Started getting severe pain in toe. It is red and swollen. What could be causing this?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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Hi Dr. Mintz,
I woke up in the middle of the night with severe pain in my right pinky toe. It is red and swollen, but there isnt any sign of an ingrown nail or a laceration with infection. I am 27, male.What could cause something like this?
Posted Thu, 1 Nov 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 3 hours later

It probably seems more like an insect bite or an allergic reaction to an external allergen rather than an ingrown nail or a laceration with infection.

Both ingrown nail and laceration with infection does not happen suddenly, they have a slow onset and are gradually progressive.

Your symptom seems to be of sudden onset in the night with rapid progression to swelling, redness and pain. These are signs of acute inflammation due to an external allergen, insect bite or sting or also due to a sudden unnoticed trauma.

Please apply ice pack to the affected toe immediately and repeat it every 4 -6 hours for a day or so. Take anti-inflammatory medicine like Tylenol thrice daily for a day after food. This will take care of the redness, swelling and pain due to the inflammation. The drug is available over the counter the US.

You shall be fine in a couple of days.

Hope this helps you. Do let me know if you have more concerns.

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