Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions we see in our office at Star Foot and Ankle Specialists. Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful and can lead to infection. We most commonly see ingrown toenails on the big toes, but they can happen to the nails on the remaining toes as well.
Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail
- Pain near the toenail
- Drainage from the side of the nail that is ingrown. This drainage can be clear, bloody, or have pus. There may also be an associated odor.
Causes of an Ingrown Toenail
- Trauma (dropping something that damages the toenail/repeatedly stubbing the toe)
- Nails being trimmed incorrectly (digging into corners)
- Too narrow of shoes causing pressure to the nails
Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
If you notice signs/symptoms of an ingrown toenail you can ease the symptoms at home by soaking the affected toenail in warm water and Epsom salts. Please avoid attempting “bathroom surgery” and attempting to dig it out yourself. This often will make the condition worse. It is important to make an appointment as soon as you can with a podiatrist to treat the ingrown toenail so it does not become infected. Although sometimes the nail can be trimmed at the tip to provide relief, most often the ingrown nail border will need to be removed. This can be done the same day in office in a relatively quick procedure. We start by cleaning and numbing the toe with local anesthesia. Once the toe is numb, we use sterile instruments to remove the affected angry nail border. We apply topical antibiotic ointment and bandage the toe following the procedure. There is sometimes mild discomfort/aching to the toe for a few days following. If the nail is infected, topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
There is a possibility that the ingrowing toenail can return in the future. We also present the option to permanently remove the ingrown toenail border. This procedure is the same with the exception of the application of a chemical to destroy the nail root and prevent regrowth. This procedure tends to cause discomfort for a little longer, usually about a week or so.
Prevention of Ingrown Toenails
- When cutting nails, trim them straight across. Avoid digging into the corners.
- Avoid cutting toenails too short.
- Wear shoes that are not too narrow and cause pressure to the sides of the toes.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of an ingrown toenail, click HERE to schedule an appointment at Star Foot and Ankle Specialists!