Posts for tag: ingrown toenail
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
Ingrown toenails may begin mildly but can quickly go from bad to worse. This frustrating and painful condition can affect anyone and cause significant issues. Unlike other foot-related conditions, which are often due to genetics or underlying conditions, ingrown toenails are almost always preventable and often come from lifestyle choices like the type of shoes you wear or the way you trim your toenails.
Do I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The nail begins to grow inward, curling in on one or both sides of the toenail and digging into the skin. An ingrown nail may begin with mild pain and discomfort and end up advancing quickly, producing symptoms like severe pain, difficulty walking, or even infection — which produces its own set of symptoms such as pus drainage or fever.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
Preventing an ingrown toenail often boils down to the way you trim your nails and care for your feet. Always cut the nail straight across the top and never round off the corners to ensure that the nail grows straight. Wearing too-tight or narrow shoes which place pressure onto the toe can also contribute an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always keep your feet dry and clean and wear fresh socks daily.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are home remedies that may help stop the pain caused by ingrown toenails, such as soaking the foot in a warm foot bath and wearing better fitting footwear. Your podiatrist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help avoid infection. In some cases, surgery by your podiatrist may be necessary. It's important to consult your doctor to see which method is best for you.
If you think you have an ingrown toenail or need help learning to better prevent them, a podiatrist can help you determine the best plan to healthier feet. Consulting with your foot doctor at regular foot examinations can help ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free for years to come.
This is a question that we frequently hear at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists. The answer is yes and no. An ingrown toenail is one that has started growing down and into the skin that surrounds the nail. There are several possible causes of ingrown toenails:
- Improper cutting: If toenails are cut too short or with rounded edges, the skin will be more prone to fold over the nail and cause it to start to grow into the skin.
- Heredity: For some people, the tendency to ingrown toenails is genetic.
- Footwear choices: Wearing shoes and socks that are too tight in the toe area can squeeze and put pressure on the toenail, causing it to start to grow inward
- Trauma: A heavy object falling on a toe or another injury can eventually lead to an ingrown toenail.
- Nail Conditions: Some nail disorders, such as fungal nails can also increase the likelihood of an ingrown toenail.
The most common of all these causes is improper toenail cutting, which is something you can avoid. Similarly, you can pick footwear that doesn’t cramp your toes. These are a few steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails.
Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
In some cases, ingrown toenails will go away on their own. Soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water several times a day may help the nail to get free of the skin. Do not attempt any “bathroom surgeries,” however. If soaking does not seem to help, and especially if you notice drainage from the toe or other signs of infection, make an appointment at our Reading office as soon as possible. One of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will want to examine your toe and determine the best way to rid you of the ingrown nail. In severe cases, a minor surgical procedure can be done to remove part of the nail.