Ingrown toenails can be the result of trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes. Most commonly they are indicative of instability in the foot structure causing the great toe to lock at toe off, producing abnormal pressure on the side of the toe. Over time this pressure influences the growth pattern of the toenail until the increasing curvature results in the nail puncturing the tissue.
While they are common, ingrown toenails can be very painful. When trimming your nails, avoid tapering the corners so that the nail curves with the shape of your toe. The sides of the nail will curl down and dig into your skin. Shoes that are too tight or short may also contribute to or aggravate ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen and tender, and later, may become sore, red and infected. Your skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
Short term management: Soaking your foot in warm, salt water several times each day may help minimize the discomfort from an ingrown nail. Also, you can try inserting some cotton or waxed dental floss between the nail and your skin. To permanently address the condition please contact our office to determine the best course of treatment for your condition.
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Where the situation is chronic, a part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail plate avulsion) may need to be surgically removed. The procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and gently removing the ingrown part of the toenail. This procedure is largely unique to podiatrists and chiropodists, producing the highest levels of success which if performed correctly with good aftercare will be painless and results in an aesthetically normal looking nail in most cases
You can prevent ingrown toenails by:
- Trimming your toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Ensuring that your shoes and socks are not too tight.
- Keeping your feet clean at all times.
- Most importantly!! if it is chronically re-occuring seek help as it will not resolve, and presents and open portal for infection.
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