This condition occurs when the toenail cuts into the surrounding skin. This may be due to a congenital curving of the nail, improper trimming, high heeled shoes, too narrow shoes, or toe deformities such as a bunion or overlapping toes that cause increased pressure on neighboring toes.
Changes in the nail due to previous trauma or fungus in the nail may also contribute to ingrown nails. The most common site for ingrown nails is the big toe.
Symptoms may range from mild discomfort to prolonged conditions which become infected. When infected, the toenail area becomes red, swollen, and painful with possible pus and drainage. For some people, ingrown nails only occur once. For others, this may be an ongoing battle.
Contrary to what our mothers and popular literature have always said, if you are prone to ingrown nails, you should cut your nails rounded and keep them relatively short. This will prevent them from growing into the tip or side of the toe.
If the nail does become red and inflamed, soak the toe in warm, soapy water with Epsom salts and carefully trim nail. If this does not alleviate your symptoms, make an appointment with a podiatrist at Weil Foot & Ankle Institute.
If the ingrown condition is mild, your podiatrist may be able to simply cut the nail properly to alleviate your symptoms. If the area is infected, the doctor will need to numb the toe and then remove the small section of the nail that is causing the infection. The toe will stay numb for several hours, but you may resume light activities immediately (such as driving). By the next day, your toe will generally feel around 90% better.
If the condition tends to recur, there is a permanent solution. Your doctor will numb your toe, remove the offending nail section and put a chemical in the area to sterilize the cells that make the nail so that the ingrown section of nail never grows back. This procedure has proven to be 95% effective with a high degree of patient satisfaction and little discomfort.
When conservative treatment options are no longer providing the comfort you need, consultation with your podiatrist is advised to discuss surgical options.
Over 200,000 patients have found relief from their foot pain and we’re confident we can help you too. Your feet will thank you! For additional information on ingrown toenail treatment or to schedule an appointment, call Weil Foot & Ankle at (847) 390-7666. With 15 podiatry offices in and around the Chicago area, including Aurora, Des Plaines, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, and Roselle, IL, there is sure to be a podiatry office near you!