Though an ingrown toenail seems like a small problem, the condition can cause extreme pain and become a source of infection. Expert podiatrist Daniel Pero, DPM, at Integrative Foot and Ankle offers comprehensive care for ingrown toenails, from specialized wound care for those with diabetes to effective in-office procedures that solve the problem and relieve your pain. If you have severe pain or an infection due to an ingrown toenail, call one of the offices in West Palm Beach, Florida, or book an appointment online.
An ingrown toenail, called onychocryptosis, occurs when the edge of your toenail grows into the surrounding skin.
The most common causes of an ingrown toenail include:
The most common cause of an ingrown toenail is improperly trimming your toenails. When the toenail is too short, the skin folds over the nail. As the nail grows, it pushes deeper into the skin.
Shoes and socks that are too tight push against your toenail, increasing the risk of it curling into the skin.
Some people develop an ingrown toenail after stubbing their toe or sustaining another type of foot injury. Activities that place extra pressure on your toes, like kicking and running, also increase your risk.
Conditions that affect your toenail, like a fungus, may cause an ingrown toenail.
Just as you can inherit a tendency to develop a foot deformity, you can also have a genetic makeup that increases your risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails are notorious for causing extreme pain. It’s also easy for an infection to develop where the toenail pushes into the skin. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, warm-feeling skin, and a discharge from the area.
In many cases, you can treat an ingrown toenail at home by soaking your foot in warm water and avoiding tight shoes and socks. You shouldn’t cut the nail, however, as that’s more likely to make the problem worse.
You should not attempt to treat the problem on your own if the area is infected or you’re diabetic, have nerve damage, or poor circulation. These conditions prevent healing and increase your risk of serious complications, so it’s best to let Dr. Pero carefully treat your ingrown toenail.
If you keep developing ingrown toenails, Dr. Pero may remove a portion of the nail and some of the nail bed to prevent that part of the nail from regrowing.
If you need help for an ingrown toenail, call Integrative Foot and Ankle or schedule an appointment online.
When the ingrown toenail becomes a chronic problem, a foot specialist will step in. They will remove part or all of the toenail in a minor surgical procedure.If the podiatrist chooses to remove part of the nail, they will numb the toe and cut away the sides of the toenail. The sides of the remaining toenail will be made completely straight.To stop the nail from growing back, the doctor will put cotton on the edges of the remaining nail. They may also choose to treat the toe with a compound called phenol.If the podiatrist chooses to remove the whole toenail, they will remove the nail bed along with it. This will prevent the nail from growing back.After surgery, the doctor may also prescribe a course of antibiotics and rest. A podiatrist will remove the ingrown portion of the nail and may prescribe a topical or oral medication to treat the infection. If ingrown nails are a chronic problem, your podiatrist can perform a procedure to permanently prevent ingrown nails. The corner of the nail that ingrows, along with the matrix or root of that piece of nail, are removed by use of a chemical, a laser, or other methods.