Ingrown toenails are a very common condition that can occur for a variety of reasons. This issue arises due to abnormal growth of the toenail, and although ingrown toenails can sometimes be treated at home, pain or infection should prompt you to seek medical treatment.
Learn more about ingrown toenails, how to identify them, and how our expert podiatrists diagnose and treat ingrown toenails at our office in Huntington, NY.
An ingrown toenail is a painful condition in which the plate cuts into the surrounding sides of the nail bed. At times, the deformity can progress to the point of an infection, where the nail will produce drainage in addition to redness, swelling, and tenderness. Ingrown toenails tend to affect the big toe, either on one or both sides. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can worsen and become more severe, which can lead to complications and increased discomfort. Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
Complications of ingrown toenails are more common for those with diabetes or other conditions that cause poor circulation in the foot, as well as nerve damage in this area. Those with these conditions should seek medical treatment for an ingrown toenail as soon as symptoms occur, but you should also seek treatment if you notice the following symptoms, which signify an infection:
The most common contributing factors to ingrown toenails are genetics, ill-fitting shoes, trauma, obesity, fungal infections, diabetes, and improper cutting of the nails. Cutting the nails so that they curve and match the shape of your toe can cause them to grow incorrectly, forcing them into the skin around the nail. Similarly, if the nails are not trimmed regularly, the pressure from shoes can direct the nail to grow into the surrounding tissue and cause an ingrown toenail.
Footwear contributes to ingrown toenails when shoes place too much pressure on the toes, which alters the growth pattern of the nail. You should avoid regularly wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as those that are too narrow or flat at the end. Although there are some steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails from developing, the condition can also be caused by external factors that cannot be prevented, such as diabetes or genetics.
A diagnosis is often made in the office, based on the appearance of the toenail and patient symptoms. If the nail is growing improperly underneath the skin surrounding it, the diagnosis of an ingrown toenail can be easily made. At times, X-rays can be utilized to aid in the additional diagnosis of bony spurs under the nail plate.
Initial treatment for ingrown toenails may include proper fitting shoes, soaking in Epsom salt, and allowing the toenails to grow a little longer. If an infection is present, your doctor may add a topical or oral antibiotic to the regimen. If the deformity persists, surgical treatment for the ingrown toenail is performed. This is often an in-office procedure in which the offending part of the nail is removed, known as a wedge resection. At times, a more extreme procedure is performed to remove a greater portion of the nail at its matrix. This can be performed in two means: non-permanent and permanent.
Ingrown toenails can be uncomfortable, and if left untreated, they can lead to even greater complications. At Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, we are experts in treating all manner of foot conditions, including ingrown toenails, so you can live your most comfortable life. To learn more about the services we offer and to make your appointment, please contact us today.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment