WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE . . .
A HANGNAIL refers to bits of torn skin that sit between the edge of the nail – usually on the finger – and the outer nail bed. They are normally harmless and can be cut off with scissors but in some cases, usually in children, they can become infected, leading to paronychia – where bacteria enters through the break in the skin. Antibiotics can be prescribed for this and, in rare cases, a procedure is needed to remove the infected nail. An ingrown nail occurs when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. It usually improves by soaking the foot in hot water to soften the skin and by keeping feet dry, but in some cases, a small procedure is needed to cut away the nail or remove it.