Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions of the foot. I treat at least four of these every day, and I know how painful the symptoms can be. When the tissue around your toenail is painful, looks unusually red, and gets a little swollen, it’s time to come see me. Don’t be discouraged, though. This condition is fairly common (which, unfortunately, doesn’t make it any less painful), and there are successful ways to treat it. I want to share with you a few things that can cause ingrown nails (along with how to prevent them from forming in the future), something you can do to ease the pain and other symptoms, and what the treatment is for the ingrown toenail you may have now.
It’s helpful to understand how we get ingrown nails so we can try and prevent them from occurring in the future. There are four main reasons we develop this painful condition, and luckily most of them can be avoided.
1. Genetics (this one cannot be prevented- but there are treatments that can reduce the chances of ingrown nails coming back)
2. Shoes (wear shoes with a larger toe box so your toes aren’t pressured or crowded)
3. Improper nail trimming (nails should be cut strait across instead of curved, the length should be no longer than the tip of each respective toe)
4. Trauma (obviously accidents don’t happen on purpose, but do everything you can to avoid dropping things on your toes or stubbing them on heavy objects)
If you feel like you’re getting or have an ingrown toenail, try soaking your foot in warm water and Epsom salts for 15 minutes daily, and then applying Neosporin and a band aid to the area.
Sometimes, when Epsom salts and Neosporin aren’t enough to take care of the ingrown toenail, other treatments are necessary. Usually this entails removing the part of the nail that’s growing into your skin and cleaning out the infected area. Sometimes this requires a numbing injection, and other times (in the less severe cases) it can be done without. If you chronically have ingrown nails, I can use a chemical to burn the root of the nail, which permanently prevents the condition from recurring in up to 93% of cases.
While ingrown nails are painful and annoying, treatments are available to both decrease the likelihood that they will occur and to treat the ones that are causing us pain. If you have any questions or are seeking treatment, please give my office a call and set-up an appointment. I am more than happy to help you with your foot and ankle problems.