Posts for tag: Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail is a common foot problem that occurs when the corner of a toenail, usually the big toe, grows into the skin. As you might imagine, this can cause pain and swelling in the affected area. If you are a healthy individual you can often treat the ingrown toenail with simple at-home care; however, patients with diabetes, nerve damage in the feet or signs of a foot infection should always see a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Causes of an Ingrown Toenail
There are several factors that could increase your risk for developing an ingrown toenail. These include:
- Heredity: if your family has a history of ingrown toenails you may be more likely to develop them, too.
- Poorly fitted shoes: shoes that are too tight and cramp up the toes can also cause painful ingrown toenails, particularly in teens whose feet are still growing rapidly
- Improper nail trimming: if you cut your nails too short or if you cut them at an angle rather than cutting them straight across you could be leaving yourself prone to an ingrown toenail
- Injury to the toe: jamming or stubbing the toe can also increase the risk of an ingrown toenail (this is most common in athletes)
Treating an Ingrown Toenail
If there are no signs of an infection (e.g. foul odor; skin that’s hot to the touch) and you are otherwise healthy then you can probably treat the ingrown toenail all by yourself from the comfort of your home. Take frequent Epsom salt soaks and apply an antibiotic cream to the area to prevent infection. Again, if there is no infection you can soak nails for several minutes so that they soften, and then gently clip away the affected area of the nail.
If you are experiencing signs of an infected ingrown toenail or if you have diabetes and develop an ingrown toenail it’s important that you seek a podiatrist’s care right away. A podiatrist can treat the infection while also removing part of or the entire nail so that it grows in properly.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
While there are certain factors such as heredity that cannot be helped, there are certainly measures you can take to reduce your risk for ingrown toenails. For one, always make sure that you wear properly fitted shoes that do not put pressure on the toes.
Secondly and most importantly, you need to know how to properly trim your toenails. Nails should be level with the tips of your toes. If nails are cut too short or if you trim your nails so they are curved at the edges rather than straight then an ingrown toenail is more likely to develop as the nail grows out.
Athletes should also make sure that they are wearing appropriate footwear for their chosen sport. Not all tennis shoes are created equally so if you have any questions about the footwear that you should wear, don’t hesitate to speak with your foot doctor.
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
Your big toe has become so sore that you can hardly walk on it. It's red and puffy, and the nail appears to be digging into the skin. These common podiatric symptoms likely stem from an ingrown toenail. The podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center in McKinney and Prosper, TX Dr. Eric Silvers, Dr. Dustin Lloyd and Dr. Christopher Witt have seen and treated many ingrown toenails and offer medical solutions for this condition and ways to avoid future problems.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail
Besides the pain, swelling, and redness, patients with ingrown toenails may have an infection with pus and a strong odor. The nail itself can discolor and separate from the nail bed.
Many times, symptoms of athlete's foot accompany an ingrown toenail. There's a generalized itchiness, blistering and flaking of the skin.
Medically-termed onychocryptosis, ingrown toenails plague people of all ages but more so occur with individuals who:
- Are obese
- Have diabetes
- Are prone to abnormalities in gait and toe and foot structure
- Experience pedal edema, or foot swelling, due to compromised circulation
- Engage in athletic activities which involve repeated pressure on the foot and toes (such as running)
- Wear shoes with improper fit (both too large or too small)
What your foot doctor in McKinney and Prosper can do
Our podiatrists advise patients to seek professional care for ingrown toenails to prevent further damage and infection. At Advanced Foot & Ankle Center, your foot doctor will visually inspect and palpate (feel) your feet, including your painful toe. Depending on his findings, he may:
- Trim the intruding nail away from the skin
- Apply a chemical called phenol to the nail to aid in its partial or total removal (matrixectomy)
- Prescribe an oral antibiotic and applying antibiotic ointment
After trimming or nail removal, our podiatrists recommend rest and elevation of the foot. Feet treated for ingrown toenails recover quickly, and people generally resume normal activities within the next day.
Preventing ingrown toenails
Here are some common sense strategies to prevent ingrown toenails:
- Using a clean clippers, trim all toenails straight across. Do not trim the corners at an angle.
- Wash your feet daily, and change your socks.
- Wear properly fitting shoes with adequate room in the toe box.
Do you need treatment?
Contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Center in McKinney and Prosper, TX if you have symptoms of an ingrown toenail. Phone (972) 542-2155 for either the McKinney or the Prosper office.
Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, can be annoying and painful. This common condition occurs when the surrounding skin on one or both sides of the nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself penetrates the skin. As the nail digs into the skin, redness, swelling, and pain are often the result.
People develop ingrown toenails for various reasons. Poor nail-trimming is the most common cause, as this encourages the skin to fold over the nail. Other causes include trauma, such as stubbing a toe, or skin conditions, such as fungal infections or nails that are simply too large. In some cases, the condition may even be inherited. Poor fitting shoes generally aggravate the condition, making it worse.
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:
- Wearing well-fitted shoes and socks
- Protecting feet from trauma when possible
- Trimming toenails straight across and avoiding repeated trimming of the nail borders
- Keeping feet clean and dry to prevent infection
If an infection is not suspected of your ingrown, it can usually be safely treated from home by soaking your foot in warm water. Avoid "bathroom surgery" and repeated cutting of the nail as this will only make the condition worse.
When attempts to reduce your symptoms from home fail, or when pain, inflammation, swelling or discharge accompany your ingrown, the toenail is most likely infected and should be treated by a podiatrist at our office. People with diabetes, nerve damage or poor circulation should always seek care immediately if an ingrown nail is detected, regardless of the severity.
A podiatrist can examine the affected toe and determine the best treatment for your condition. For an infection, an antibiotic may be prescribed. Other treatments may involve trimming or removing the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure.
Ingrown toenails may be annoying, but rest assured that they can easily be prevented and treated with the help of your podiatrist. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, visit our practice for quick and easy treatment.