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How We Treat Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be a painful condition that makes it difficult to wear shoes or can even lead to bleeding and pus forming in the toe. It typically happens because someone trims their toenails too short or tapers the edges of the toenails to make for a round appearance. While this may be seemingly attractive, it is dangerous for the health of the toe.

Treating ingrown toenails

When one tapers or files the edges of the toenail down to a more rounded shape, it encourages the toenail to grow into the side of the toe. It can then continue to grow into this downward position until the toenail is fully ingrown and cuts into the skin.

This type of toe nail trimming is a common technique that is also practiced by many nail salons, so it is important for someone to make sure that the toenail is cut straight across regardless of whether the trimming is being done at home or in a salon.

WATCH OUT FOR TIGHT SHOES

Another reason for ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are too small or too tight. This tends to happen a lot with children who may wear tennis shoes, cleats or regular sandals that are too small and their toes are forced tightly together in the process. Without enough room to expand, both the toes and toenails will have pressure applied to them. The toenails can then move in the downward position and cut into the actual toe.

SYMPTOMS

When the toenail initially becomes ingrown, the area around it is likely to harden and feel sore. In time, bleeding will occur and pus may begin to form and drain from the toenail. When the condition becomes worse, the skin may even grow over the actual toenail.

If these symptoms are present, it is wise to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to treat the ingrown toenail before the condition becomes more painful.

THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO TREAT INGROWN TOENAILS

At home, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection and decrease pain. These begin with soaking the toes several times a day and using antiseptic when necessary. Additionally, if we can raise the softened toenail slightly, it may be possible to insert cotton balls or even dental wax underneath the toenail to keep it in an elevated position.

The elevated position can provide some relief and also help the toenail begin to grow normally. We sometimes recommend this as the initial course of action, but in many cases, further steps are necessary. We encourage patients to visit our podiatrist office so that we can help to resolve the issue permanently.

In many cases, we will need to cut away the ingrown portion of the toenail and expose the nail bed. We will use anesthesia to ensure patients do not feel any pain during the process. Afterward, it will become important to protect the total and so we recommend wearing clean socks and open sandals while keeping the area completely clean and free from too much moisture. In many cases, the toenail will then grow in correctly.

LEARN MORE AND GET HELP

To learn more about ingrown toenails and what we do to treat them, call our clinic and schedule an appointment.

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