Toenails often serve as barometers of our health; they are diagnostic tools providing the initial signal of the presence or onset of systemic diseases. For example, the pitting of nails and increased nail thickness can be manifestations of psoriasis.
Concavity-nails that are rounded inward instead of outward-can foretell iron deficiency anemia. Some nail problems can be conservatively treated with topical or oral medications while others require partial or total removal of the nail. Any discoloration or infection on or about the nail should be evaluated by a Podiatrist.
What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are also known as onychocryptosis. They occur when the toenail grows into the skin that surrounds it. This can cause swelling, redness, inflammation, and pain, and without treatment can lead to infection, as well as other issues.
Ingrown toenails begin in the side or corner of the toenail growing down and curling into the toe’s skin. The most common location for an ingrown toenail is the big toe, however it is possible to experience one on any toe.
There are a number of things that can cause ingrown toenails. The most common causes are trimming nails improperly, shoes or socks that are too tight, trauma or injury to the nail or toe, abnormal nail shape, feet that excessively roll in when walking (overpronation), and wearing sportswear on the feet.
How can you prevent ingrown toenails?
While certain causes of ingrown toenails, such as an abnormal nail shape, happen naturally, the majority can be prevented. With appropriate foot care and awareness, you can help to ensure that your toes are safe from ingrown toenails and the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany them.
Here are a number of things you can do to prevent ingrown toenails:
- Make sure your footwear fits properly and avoid high heels.
- Use toenail clippers to cut toenails.
- When trimming toenails, cut straight across the nail.
- Wear custom foot orthotics if your feet overpronate when walking.
- Don’t pick at your toenails.
- Don’t tear your toenails.
What do you do if an ingrown toenail develops?
As soon as you notice the symptoms of an ingrown toenail, you’ll want to have it treated to avoid infection. That means you’ll want to make an appointment with one of our chiropodists so that they can assess and treat your ingrown toenail.
While you’re waiting for your appointment, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the pain and discomfort. Try soaking your feet in lukewarm water with Epsom salt, cleaning any blood or pus and then covering it with a Band-Aid when you’re wearing shoes. Refrain from cutting your toenail. You can also wear sandals and avoid any activities that could put pressure on your toe.
The chiropodist will examine your toenail and toe in order to determine whether or not you have an ingrown nail. If you suffer from diabetes you will want to let your chiropodist know, as ingrown toenails are fairly common for those who do.
If your chiropodist determines that you have an ingrown toenail, they will develop a course of treatment for you. Their top priority will be to ensure that an infection does not develop. Infections can easily spread to your bloodstream and cause multiple severe issues.
There are a number of other problems that can develop from an untreated ingrown toenail, such as nail plate deformity or loss, nail fold scarring, as well as severe pain and inflammation. The longer these issues continue, the more this seemingly simple ingrown toenail will negatively impact your life, making it difficult for you to walk and wear shoes.
Treatment for ingrown toenails
Your treatment plan will depend on the severity and other unique details of your condition.
For mild cases of ingrown toenails, there are simple treatments that can be done at home, such as regular, adequate nail care. This includes soaking the affected foot in warm water, drying your foot, and then placing part of a cotton ball under the corner of the nail. Mild cases can also be treated with proper, regular trimming. To reduce pain from your ingrown toenail, try to wear sandals instead of closed toe shoes to make sure that nothing rubs against the affected nail.
If your ingrown toenail is more severe, your chiropodist may recommend treatment in the form of nail spicule removal or surgery that permanently prevents regrowth. If you have an infection from your ingrown toenail, you may be prescribed antibiotics.
Toenail surgery at Feet in Motion
If your chiropodist recommends surgery as a treatment for your ingrown toenail, you’ll have a simple, in-office procedure that can be done at our clinic.
Before the procedure starts you will be given a local anesthetic injection that numbs the toe. The chiropodist will remove the piece of the nail that has penetrated your flesh or sometimes the entire nail plate.
Those who suffer from chronic ingrown toenails may need a minor surgical procedure known as partial toenail removal. This surgery is done in-office under local anesthesia, and permanently removes a piece of both sides of the toenail. Healing takes about 4-6 weeks. This creates a narrower toenail that permanently prevents ingrown toenails.
Contact Feet in Motion for ingrown toenail treatment
Ingrown toenails can be debilitating. The good news is, there are simple, effective treatments that remove and even prevent ingrown toenails.
If you are suffering from this common foot problem, visit us at Feet in Motion today. We’ll provide both assessment and treatment to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Contact Feet In Motion today.