One of the most common problems we treat in our office is Ingrown Toenails.
An Ingrown toenail is curved and grows into the skin usually at the sides of the nail. An ingrown toenail digs into the skin, can cause a break in the skin which bacteria can enter and cause an infection. Ingrown toenails are sometimes painful and if left untreated they can become sore, red and infected and the skin may start to grow over the toenail.
Causes of an ingrown toenail include:
- Improper trimming of the toenail
- Repeated trauma to the feet from normal activities
- Improperly sized shoes and socks which cause crowding of the toenails
If the ingrown toenail is not infected, home treatment includes soaking the foot in warm water adding some Epsom salts, several times per day. We do not recommend that you try to remove the toenail yourself. If the nail appears to be infected – red, swollen, and some drainage – please call our office to schedule an appointment. SPECIAL NOTE: If you have diabetes, neuropathy or suspect that you have an infection, please call our office immediately to schedule an appointment with our doctors.
Treatment of an ingrown toenail might include an oral antibiotic if an infection is present. Our doctors might recommend a minor, in office procedure to remove a portion of the toenail. A local anesthetic is applied and the doctor will remove part of the offending nail border and place medication on the nail root so it doesn’t return.
Ingrown toenails can be prevented by:
- Properly trimming toenails – cutting straight across, but not too short and do not round the corners
- Wearing well-fitted shoes and socks – avoid shoes with a small or narrow toe box
- Keeping feet clean at all times