Ingrown toenails are a very common condition that can cause a significant amount of pain and even lead to infection if not cared for promptly. Having an ingrown toenail can make everything you enjoy doing difficult, as the nail digging into the skin makes it difficult to put any sort of pressure on the toe that is affected. If you have suffered from an ingrown toenail, you understand the pain and injury that results from the condition. Ingrown toenails can lead to infection, so it is important to treat them early on in development before bacteria can make its way into the wound.
Here at [Doctor]’s office in Garland, we understand the need for early diagnosis of ingrown toenail, and encourage you to contact one of our friendly associates to schedule an appointment if you are concerned about the development of ingrown toenail at any stage. In order to best understand what to look for, it is important to know what ingrown toenail is and what causes it.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
Ingrown toenails are a common condition in which the side edge of the toenail grows into the soft tissue of the toe. The result is a pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes infection if it is left unattended to. Ingrown toenails usually affect your big toe, as the constant pressure can affect how the nail grows. The most common cause of an ingrown toenail is either injury or not cutting your toenails properly. If these injuries are left untreated, they can easily become infected due to the amount of bacteria your feet are exposed to on a daily basis. These infections can lead to much more serious conditions, making it best to always get checked if you are concerned you are developing an ingrown toenail.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, you’re at greater risk of complications of ingrown toenails as well.
How Are Ingrown Toenails Treated?
Initially, it is best to try home remedies such as cutting your toenails properly. This consists of cutting them straight across and not bending around the corners of the toe. Over 80% of cases of an ingrown toenail are thought to be caused by this, making it an easy way to drastically reduce your chances of getting this condition.
In addition, cleaning and sterilizing the area thought to be afflicted can also help to alleviate pain and reduce the chance of infection.
If home remedies haven’t helped your ingrown toenail, your doctor may recommend:
- Lifting the nail. For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain without white pus), your doctor may carefully lift the ingrown nail edge and place cotton or a splint under it. This separates the nail from the overlying skin and helps the nail grow above the skin edge. At home, you’ll need to soak the toe and replace the material daily until it is fully healed.
- Partially removing the nail. For a more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain, and signs of infection), your doctor may trim or remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Before this is done, your doctor may temporarily numb the toe by injecting it with a numbing agent.
- Removing the nail and tissue that is damaged. If you have the problem repeatedly on the same toe, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue and nail bed associated. This procedure may prevent that part of your nail from growing back.
Your doctor may also recommend using topical or oral antibiotics, especially if the toe is infected or at risk of becoming infected.
Overall, it is important to watch out for your toe health and to ensure you are cutting your nails properly. If you notice any pain or signs of your toenail digging into the side of any of your toes, consider getting it checked out by a professional. Doing this early can make curing it a much faster and pain-free task. Contact us today for help solving any of your ingrown toenail related questions.