Ingrown Toenails

Frequently Asked Questions

Ingrown toenails are a very common, usually painful problem with feet. If you’ve ever suffered from this condition or you currently have this condition, you’re sure to agree. Thankfully, it can be remedied right in the doctor’s office and relief will come within just a few short hours of treatment.

 So What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

While the shape and contour of your toenails is inherited, the cause may be due to numerous reasons. If you’re blessed to have flat toenails, chances are that you won’t have to deal with ingrown toenails in your life time. People who have curved or rounded toenails are much more likely to encounter ingrown toenails over the course of their life time.

Tight or tapered shoes often crowd the foot, especially the toes, thus creating pressure points where the nail meets with the toe. In time, this pressure can cause the nails to cut into the skin and irritate sensitive skin on the side or the tip of the toenail.

Trauma of any sort may cause the shape of the nail to change and then grow into the corners, puncturing the skin.  This will allow bacteria in, and cause the infection of the nail corner.

Toenails can trap dirt and harbor bacteria underneath of them. When the skin is swollen and painful the bacteria will take advantage of the ideal conditions and inflame itself and get worse.

 How Do I Treat Ingrown Toenails?

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Sometimes you can treat them yourself at home. Clean the affected area with soap and water and gently trim any nail fragments. Never pull out any nail fragments that are attached. Use a gentle over the counter antibiotic ointment or cream liberally on the area several times each day. If your infection does not resolve itself within three to five days, seek a podiatrist’s attention.

If you are a diabetic or a patient who uses blood thinners, you should contact your podiatrist immediately. Any infection of the foot under these conditions can be potentially dangerous.  Your doctor will be the best person to evaluate this condition if you have any serious medical conditions.

Also, if your condition isn’t improving after three to five days it’s wise to seek a doctors advice as you could have something else wrong with your toes. Since your feet support your body weight it’s important to not let something like this go for too long without medical attention.

 What Sort Of Treatments Can I Expect?

If you are suffering from a toenail infection, the first course of treatment is to stop the infection by draining and gently cleaning the affected area. Doctors will often use a local anesthetic and drain the infection right in their office. Antibiotics will then be applied and depending upon the severity of the infection you may also be required to take an oral antibiotic.

 Is There A Way To Prevent This?

Once an infection is cleared up, you can maintain your toenails carefully. Some doctors recommend a procedure called Onychoplasty, or the repair of your nail. With a local anesthetic your nail will have the ingrown area removed and a chemical will be applied to reduce the chance of it recurring.

Ingrown toenails are a common and painful condition, but with quick appropriate treatment you can go on to enjoy walking again.