Ingrown Toenail Q & A
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail is a common foot problem caused when the part of the nail is growing into the skin fold or surrounding skin causing redness and pain with possible infection. If left untreated, an ingrown nail can develop into a severe infection.
Ingrown Toenail Procedure
What causes ingrown toenails?
Anyone can get an ingrown toenail and generally starts with the nail being irritated from shoes or activities, and or and injury. The most common causes of ingrown toenails include:
- Poor hygiene
- Improper nail-cutting technique
- Irregular, curved nails (pincer nail deformity)
- Improper footwear
- Trauma or injury to the toes
- Poor posture or improper biomechanics
Proper foot care is essential to preventing these conditions and subsequent infections. Trimming and filing your nails on a regular basis can help control their growth and prevent them from growing into the skin.
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Tips for Ingrown Toenails
Problems with your feet can make for a long day, but there are some simple tips for ingrown toenail treatment that can make this unsightly and painful problem go away. Ingrown toenails can go from uncomfortable to becoming a serious medical problem if not properly treated. Also known as unguis incarnates or onychocryptosis, an ingrown toenail is a painful condition of the toe. Any toe is prone to getting an ingrown toenail, but it is usually a condition that affects the big toe. The pain begins when the pointed edge of a toenail digs into the nerve endings under the skin in the corner of the toe. Usually a person will experience visible inflammation or slight pain when wearing shoes as a first sign of that there may be a need for some form of ingrown toenail treatment. If left unchecked, the area at the side or end of the toe may begin to grow hard or ooze with fluid that may be yellow in color.If you can catch an ingrown toenail before it becomes a serious health matter, you can employ some common sense remedies for ingrown toenail treatment. Before you get started you might want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen which is the active ingredient in Motrin and Advil, acetaminophen which can be found in Tylenol, or naproxen sodium which is the substance that gives Aleve its pain relief power. Your first instinct may be to lift the sharp corner of toenail that is digging into the skin, but you must do it carefully. The best way to accomplish this is to take a one inch piece of gauze or a piece of cotton and rub it between your forefinger and thumb until it becomes a thin string or roll. Lift the toenail just enough to insert the cotton roll or piece of gauze. This will be painful, but it is essential to ingrown toenail treatment at home. Place your foot in to warm water to soak, then try to push the cotton or gauze further under the toenail. The water you use for this and other soakings should be free of soaps or antibacterial additives.
As part of continuing ingrown toenail treatment, you should avoid wearing shoes that are narrow or pinch your toes – especially high heels. If the weather permits, wear a sandal or other open-toed shoe until the condition clears and the pain is gone. Wash your foot twice a day, paying special attention to the area of the toe where the ingrown nail is healing. Make sure that you dry your foot thoroughly, and keep the affected area free of dirt. Try to soak your feet in the morning, after a day of wearing shoes, and again before bed. With these simple tips, you’ll be walking pain free in no time.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
You may not experience pain with an ingrown toenail, but some people find the pain unbearable, especially if infection develops. The pain can range from some discomfort to debilitating pain that makes it difficult to walk or stand.
Common symptoms of ingrown toenails include:
- Pain and tenderness on the side of the toenail
- Redness around the toenail
- Swelling in the toe
- Pus draining from the nail area
What are the treatment options for ingrown toenails?
Treatments for an ingrown toenail without infection include should still be looked at my a podiatrist to make sure it does not get infected or become fungal causing the toenail to turn yellow and thick. People with diabetes or other comorbidities affecting the circulatory system should seek a podiatrist for ingrown toenails to ensure proper healing and prevent an infection.
Infected nails may require a minor surgical procedure that removes part or all of the affected nail to eliminate the infection, this procedure can usually be done in the clinic and take approximately 5-10 minutes. Most patient are able to return to normal daily right after the procedure. Dr.Patel will recommend the best course of treatment based on your medical needs.
Contact Foot & Ankle Center in Austin, TX to schedule your appointment today.