An ingrown toenail occurs when the side or corner of the toenail curves, growing into the surrounding skin. The condition is painful as the soft skin swells and becomes red, and sometimes an infection occurs.
Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe. In many cases, it is possible to take care of the ingrown nail yourself. But if the pain is spreading or severe, you need to seek medical treatment. It is vital to find out how to treat and prevent ingrown toenails.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails can result from different issues. The common causes of the condition include nail trauma like stubbing the toe and cutting the toenails too short. The problem can result from wearing the wrong shoes or shoes that are too tight around the toes.
Having unusually curved nails and cutting the nails incorrectly or at an angle can cause ingrown toenails. People who have conditions that restrict blood flow to the feet can get ingrown toenails.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails
Some symptoms indicate that you have an ingrown toenail. The symptoms include tenderness and pain in the toe on one or both sides and redness around the nail. Other symptoms are swelling of the toe and infection of the tissue around the nail.
It is possible to treat mild symptoms at home, but severe symptoms may require surgical intervention. It is necessary to treat the symptoms the moment they occur to prevent infection.
Complications From Ingrown Nails
Visit a doctor immediately if you experience severe discomfort in the toe. If the redness is spreading or if you notice any pus, seek treatment immediately. If not treated, an ingrown toenail can cause complications such as gangrene.
The effect on the underlying bone can result in a serious bone infection. People who have diabetes can suffer from severe complications, including poor blood flow and damage to the nerves in the feet.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
There are things that you can do to prevent ingrown toenails. Trimming your nails straight across and not curved can prevent the condition. Trim your nails to a moderate length and not too short. Make sure that you wear shoes that fit correctly without putting pressure on the toes.
If you have foot problems, buy your shoes from a store that specializes in fitting shoes. Ensure that you wear protective footwear when working or participating in activities where you risk injuring your toes. Inspect your toes regularly to look for signs of ingrown nails.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are several ways to treat ingrown toenails. Treatment will be based on the severity of the condition. Lifting the nail can help treat a slightly ingrown toenail. The doctor can carefully lift the edge of the nail and then place a splint or cotton under it. Another treatment option includes partially removing the toenail. This is effective for severely ingrown nails. The doctor here can remove or trim the ingrown portion.
In some cases, the doctor may suggest removing the injured nail and tissue. They do this to treat persistent problems, and the goal is to prevent the nail from growing back. Nail removal using a laser, chemicals, or other methods is also an option.
The doctor will diagnose your ingrown toenail condition after conducting a physical examination and asking about your symptoms.
For more on treating and preventing ingrown toenails, visit Podiatrist On Call at our office in Jacksonville, Florida. You can call (904) 707-8769 today to schedule an appointment.