Ingrown toenails are due to the growth of the edges of the nail plate into the soft tissue of the toe. With bacterial invasion the tissue around the nails becomes red, swollen and sore. There could be drainage or pus around the site which indicates infection. For people who have diabetes or poor circulation this problem can become severe. For the diabetic, a simple ingrown toenail can develop into gangrene of the toe. Patients with joint replacements or pacemakers are at risks for bacterial spread through the blood stream.
There are several causes of ingrown toenails: hereditary tendencies, improperly cutting the toenail by peeling them off instead of using nail clippers, cutting the nails too short or cutting into the side of the nail and ill-fitting shoes.
Treatment for ingrown toenails is relatively painless. The injection to numb the toe may hurt a little but our skilled podiatrist’s have techniques to minimize the discomfort. Once the toe is numb, the nail margin is removed and the nail root in this area is destroyed. Usually, the doctor will use acid to kill the nail root but other techniques are generally discussed. It could take a few weeks for the nail margin to heal but normal activity, bathing and wearing shoes may be resumed the day after nail removal.
To prevent ingrown toenails, wear properly fitting shoes and trim the toenails straight across and not too short. If you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, please call our office and make an appointment. Our professional podiatrists can assess the toenail beds and present a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Wendy Taggart PMAC, Insurance Specialist