An ingrown toenail is characterized by the corner or side of your nail digging into the flesh of your toe causing pain. This condition commonly affects the big toenail. In some cases, the toe can become infected and a collection of pus may also develop further increasing your pain and discomfort.
Improper cutting of toenails or wearing tight shoes are often considered the main causes for the development of ingrown toenails. Other significant causes for the development of ingrown toenails include the shape of the nail (a nail that is curved from side to side rather than flat), trauma to the nail (dropping a heavy object on your toe), pressure from an adjacent toe, fleshy toes, and the tendency to develop swelling in your feet.
To prevent the development of ingrown toenails, always cut your nail straight across without tapering the corners. This allows the corners of your nail to protrude and prevents the nail from penetrating your skin. You should also avoid wearing tight shoes and socks and keep your feet clean to prevent chances of infection.
If you do have an ingrown toenail, it is best to visit a podiatrist for treatment. A skilled podiatrist can easily remove the part of the nail that has penetrated the skin. If the condition is severe, your podiatrist may deem it necessary to remove the side of the nail that is causing the problem. A special acid may also be applied to the nailbed to prevent it from re-growing. The entire procedure can be done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia.
You should keep your foot elevated for the rest of the day following the procedure and subsequently use an open-toed shoe for a few days to facilitate healing. In 2 weeks’ time, you should be able to return to your active lifestyle without any pain.
The foot and ankle specialists at NewportCare Medical Group in Newport Beach, California provide comprehensive care for all your foot and ankle problems. Don’t let an ingrown toenail restrict your activities, call us today for an appointment.