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 or Palm Beach Gardens, 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.
Treatment for an ingrown toenail generally consists of removing part of the nail and inserting a cotton wisp or string of dental floss under the nail to keep it separate from the skin while the problem heals. You may also need an antibiotic if an infection is present.
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.