Valley Foot Care, Inc.

What Is An Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails are a common nuisance but easy to treat. However, the potential of things going south during self-treatment is high, especially when they get infected. According to doctors, ingrown toenails are a common occurrence, with two in every ten people looking to get ingrown toenail treatment.

But, what exactly is an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenail refers to when your nail grows into your skin on either side. This results in the nail digging into your skin, causing irritation, pain, redness, warmth on the toe, and in some instances, infections. 

Causes of ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are hereditary for some people, but they can also be caused by trauma, such as when you stub your toe or when an object falls on your foot. Cutting your nails too short and wearing improperly sized shoes also encourage ingrown toenails.

Lastly, you can get an ingrown toenail if you have nail problems like fungus. In such cases, getting an infection is easy.

What doctor to see for ingrown toenail

The best doctor to treat an ingrown toenail is a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in foot and ankle treatment. If you can’t locate one near you, a nurse or your regular physician may be in a position to help. The advantage of working with a podiatrist is they know the ins and outs of feet and are thus uniquely positioned to deal with this kind of problem. 

Ingrown toenail treatment

Most people only notice an ingrown toenail when they believe it’s infected. However, waiting this long or using home treatments can make the infection worse. Once at the clinic, the ingrown toenail doctor will carefully remove the nail’s corner stuck in your skin.

If you already have an infection, the doctor will drain the pus or liquid buildup. If the nail keeps growing back into the skin, the doctor may need to perform surgery, removing an ingrown toenail. If the nail is infected your podiatrist will perform a temporary nail removal to completely clean out the infection. The nail will regrow and likely do the same thing again unless a permanent nail procedure is done before it gets infected. During the permanent procedure, the nail has to be non-infected as a special chemical is applied to the root of the nail to prevent its regrowth.

If the nail is infected you will likely be prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection completely. Non-infected permanent nail procedures can in rare cases become infected after ingrown toenail surgery. Post-operatively keep an eye on your toe for increased redness, pain, and swelling, and call your doctor immediately if you notice these signs. It is also very important to keep your scheduled follow-up appointments with your podiatrist after the procedure to ensure proper healing.

To prevent ingrown toenails, talk to your podiatrist about surgical ways to prevent their recurrence. Alternatively, cut your nails after a bath. Clean your toenail trimmer before use and trim your nails without digging into the nail. It is a good practice to swipe your nails before and after trimming your nails with a cotton ball soaked with alcohol. Do the same with your nail clippers cleaning them before and after use with alcohol. Avoid tearing the nail, and always wear shoes that fit properly.

If pain persists or you have concerns seek help without delay and call your podiatrist today.  Patients with Diabetes and Vascular Disease (Poor Circulation) Should avoid self-treatment altogether and seek medical advice.