At The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic, we understand ingrown nails like the back of our hands. The corner of your nail may burrow into your skin, but it isn't beyond repair. You don't have to live in pain. Dr. Howard Schaengold is here to help you get a handle on your foot condition!
What Are The Causes?
Toenails may turn under for a number of reasons. Some of the most common explanations include, but are not limited to: wearing improper or tight footwear, trimming toenails improperly, sustaining injuries such as stubbing the toe, heredity, and fungal infections.
What Are The Symptoms?
When your nail has taken a turn for the worse a number of signs and symptoms will occur. In its early stages, the skin surrounding the nail will become red and mildly swollen. It will be warm to the touch and slightly painful. If left untreated, the symptoms will worsen. Excess skin and tissue will surround the affected area and the wound will begin to drain. If the area becomes infected, the swelling will increase, the redness will intensify, and the drainage will appear off white and cloudy. Though unusual, fevers may develop among certain individuals.
How Do I Prevent Ingrown Toenails?
If you take proper care of your feet and toes, you can prevent this painful condition. When trimming your toenails, be sure to take the proper precautions. Toenails should be cut straight across, never along the curve of the toe, and kept as long as the edge of your skin. Rounding corners or cutting the nail too short will enable the nail to grow into the skin. It is also important to keep toenail clippers and tools clean and dry.
Another major contributing factor to this toe problem is poor choice in footwear. Never wear shoes that are too small or tight. There should be at least a half-inch available at the toe of your shoe to allow room for stop and go motions. High heels are another type of shoe to avoid. Footwear that pushes the toes together and compresses them more than normal will create abnormal pressure on the toenails. This pressure will cause irregular growth.
How Is It Treated?
Even with preventative measures and proper precautions, some cases of ingrown toenail are completely unavoidable. However, this painful toe ailment can be cured by several different treatment methods. At the first sign of ingrown toenails, home treatment needs to commence.
To treat your condition at home you should soak the affected toe(s) in warm water, at least three times a day. Keep the area clean to avoid infection and protect your feet from further trauma by wearing properly fitted shoes.
Over the counter medications may provide some relief by reducing swelling and pain. Always discuss the use of painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen with your podiatrist prior to use. If your toenail continues to grow inward you may need to take further measures. By lifting the edge of the toenail from its ingrown position and placing a piece of dental floss or small piece of cotton underneath, you will encourage proper growth. If this treatment method is used, the cotton or floss should be changed every day.
Even with the best intentions and going to great lengths to avoid ingrown toenails, professional help is often needed. If your condition continues to worsen, contact Dr. Schaengold. Depending on the severity of your nail problem, prescription antibiotics may be needed to combat infection and surgery may be required to extract the ingrown portion of the nail. In some cases, complete removal of the nail is the best option. In the event that part or all of the nail is removed, it will typically grow back within 6-10 months unless a permanent removal is performed.
Don't wait until your toe pain becomes unbearable. If left untreated for a considerable amount of time, this nail problem can cause serious complications such as skin and bone infections. Our office will offer you the best treatments available. Contact us in Sammamish today by calling (425) 868-3338 or by booking online. We look forward to speaking with you!