What a Pain in the Toe - Ingrown Toenails

Having ingrown toenails is a common foot issue, affecting people of all ages. It’s also one of the most painful concerns, causing swelling, bleeding, and infection, as well as discomfort while doing everyday activities. You may be tempted to wait it out, or try to resolve an ingrown toenail yourself, but this could lead to serious infection and slow the healing process.

First, it’s important to understand what an ingrown toenail is and how it forms. An ingrown nail, often seen in the big toenail, is a condition caused by pressure from growth of the edge of the nail into the skin surrounding the toe. It can also be an overgrowth of the skin over the natural nail bed. In either case, the  pressure caused by an ingrown toenail eventually causes the nail to break the skin, which can result in bacterial or fungal infections and inflammation.

There are numerous risk factors or causes for ingrown toenails:

  • Trauma to the nail and toes
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Fungal infection
  • Improper nail trimming
  • Naturally curved toenails

Next, it is crucial to seek treatment from a podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, both to identify the best treatment and to prevent further complications. Dr. Shermi Parikh can suggest several options for you to consider regarding the treatment of your condition, from conservative therapies to surgery in more serious cases.

Treatment options for ingrown nails include:

  1. Lifting the nail - Lifting the nail edge and placing cotton or other sterile fabric between the nail and the skin. This will help guide the nail to grow away from the skin into a more natural position.

  2. Partially removing the nail - For more extreme cases, trimming or removing a portion of the nail is necessary to keep it from growing into the skin around the nail.

  3. Permanent removal of the ingrown nail - For repeat problems on the same toe, a portion of the nail is removed and a chemical is used to kill the nail root to keep the nail from growing back.

It is best to take care of your ingrown toenail quickly and with the best approach so the issue doesn’t keep recurring over time. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Parikh today!