Ingrown toenails are a common issue seen in patients both young and old. They can be painful, and if not treated appropriately, an infection can occur. Some will very rarely develop an ingrown toenail, while others struggle with chronic ingrown nails. The good news is that you don’t have to continue struggling with ingrown toenails and there are treatment options available to prevent future ingrown toenails from returning. We will cover a few causes, signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails, and potential treatment options available.
Potential causes of an ingrown toenail may include trauma to the nail. This may be something as simple as someone stepping on the toe or could be from stubbing the toe. The way the toenail is cut can contribute to the development of an ingrown toenail. You must be careful to not cut back or round the sides of the nail too much because if a piece of nail breaks off there may be a portion that begins to become ingrown. Occasionally we will see patients who have had a pedicure that may develop an ingrown toenail. Others are genetically predisposed to developing ingrown toenails based on the curvature and growth of the toenail.
Typically, the first signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail are discomfort along the nail border accompanied with developing irritation or redness. Tight fitting shoes may increase the symptoms. Pressure on the toe from walking, running, or other exercise may be uncomfortable. Having the toe stepped on often causes increased discomfort. If the toenail is not properly treated the ingrown toenail may become worse and over time there may be drainage, increased redness and pain, and potentially extra tissue growth may be seen along the nail border. It is important to seek medical advice early in the process as this makes it less likely you will develop an infection.
You may have read about various treatment options for your ingrown toenails. The common things people will initially try are digging the toenail out themselves, soaking in warm water or with Epson salt, and an antibiotic may be prescribed if redness develops. These treatment options are good initial first steps, but often the nail border needs to be addressed to resolve the ingrown toenail. Fortunately, we have good treatment options for removing ingrown toenails, along with preventing them from returning. The physicians at Capital Foot and Ankle offer a couple different treatment options to help treat your ingrown nails. We perform a simple procedure along the nail border to remove the ingrown toenail, which then allows the toe to heal. If you have not struggled with ingrown toenails in the past, then you may only need a simple border removal. We typically only need to take a small portion of the nail border which makes the overall appearance of the toenail look relatively normal following the procedure. If you have struggled with ingrown toenails in the past, then we also offer an effective procedure to prevent the ingrown toenails from returning. We can remove a small portion of the toenail border and then apply a chemical to the nail cells to prevent regrowth of the border. This helps to eliminate the portion of the nail which tends to grow and curve into the skin. This is a simple in office procedure that can be performed at your initial visit which will greatly reduce the likelihood of an ingrown toenail returning. Most patients who have this procedure performed state that they should have done this much sooner as their toe feels much better and they no longer have to struggle with ingrown toenails in the future. Again, only a small portion of the nail border is removed, and therefore most people don’t notice a difference in the appearance of their toenail once the toe has healed. We provide simple care instructions following the procedure, and rarely is much activity restricted.
Capital Foot and Ankle encourages anyone who struggles with ingrown toenails to call and make an appointment to go over your treatment options. We specialize in caring for your feet and nails and would like to help keep you active and pain free. Give our specialists a call today if you are tired of struggling with your painful ingrown nails. We can help eliminate this aggravating problem from returning.