INGROWN TOENAILS

Ingrown toenails are the most common nail condition seen in all ages. A normal nail grows straight out from the nail matrix (“root”) located under the skin, directly behind the cuticle. However, if the nail matrix is altered, the direction of growth becomes compromised and the involved borders grow at an angle. The sides of the nail dig painfully into the skin borders causing irritation. As this continues, the nail border can become swollen and red with drainage expressed resulting in an infection. The most common toe to be affected is the big toe.

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While home treatments such as Epsom salt water soaks or antibiotic ointments help symptoms, they usually are a temporary solution with a high recurrence rate. Your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle will be able to assess the condition and treat it properly, reducing its chances to recur.

HOW AN INGROWN TOENAIL IS FORMED

An ingrown toenail develops once the nail root is altered, where the nail grows at an angle. The condition is often unavoidable due to heredity. Other common causes include improper trimmed nails with rounded corners, shoe pressure, nail trauma, toe trauma, and fungus.

SYMPTOMS

  • Painful nail borders
  • Swelling, redness and drainage from nail border
  • Pain with tight fitting shoes
  • Altered nail color and thickness

TREATMENT

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Home remedies can help tame the symptoms but usually will not resolve the condition. Daily foot soaks in Epsom salt water with antibiotic ointment and Band-Aid dressings can ease the pain and swelling.

The best treatment modality entails an in- office procedure where the affected nail border is cut and cleared all the way back to the root of the nail. A permanent vs. nonpermanent option is given for nail regrowth. Ingrown toenails have a high recurrence rate and a permanent solution is typically recommended if no contraindications are present.

The procedure is performed the same day as the initial appointment and has a mild recovery period. You can return to normal activities within 2-3 days with mild post-operative care. Antibiotics will be determined by the doctor based on need.

If you are exhibiting early indication of pain or discomfort, visit your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle for care!

People with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or other circulatory disorders must avoid all forms of self-home remedies and treatments as they put themselves at risk for delayed healing and infection. One should avoid attempting to remove the nail themselves as this can cause worsening of infection due to a non-sterile environment and tools. Hydrogen peroxide has also been shown to worsen the condition and should be avoided at all times.

If you are exhibiting early indication of pain or discomfort, visit your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle for care!

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