Grow Past an Ingrown Toenail
Thomas A. LeBeau, DPM
St. Augustine Foot and Ankle
An ingrown toenail is when a toenail grows into the flesh as opposed to over it. The big toe is the most common place for a nail to become ingrown, however, they can occur on any toe. This will most often affect people with thick or curved nails but anyone could have a toenail ingrown as a result of an injury, shoes that do not fit properly, or poor grooming. Diabetics and people with vascular problems should be extra aware of their toenails because left untreated an ingrown could cause other serious issues up to and including losing a limb!
An ingrown toenail is most commonly caused by cutting your toenails too short or rounding them. Further, poorly fitting shoes that constrict the toes as well as stubbing or jamming the toe can also cause a toenail to become ingrown. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected, more painful, and may require surgery.
The best way to treat an ingrown toenail is to prevent one from ever developing. The best ways to prevent an ingrown toenail are as follows:
- Do not cut your toenails too short and do not round the corners. Do cut the toenail straight.
- Wear shoes that properly fit, particularly, shoes that are a bit wider in the toe area to allow movement.
- Avoid trauma to the toes as best you can like jamming or stubbing.
In the case that an ingrown toenail does develop, fear not, there are several ways to conservatively treat the toenail with minimal discomfort and great effectiveness. These treatments include soaking the toe, elevating the foot, topical antibiotics, or simply gently pushing back the overgrown skin away from the toenail. More advanced cases may require oral antibiotics or a simple in-office procedure. In a more extreme situation, a portion of the toenail may be removed entirely. This type of procedure would require a local anesthetic. Surgical procedures for an ingrown toenail usually have somewhat prolonged healing and follow-ups with your doctor to be sure no other infection settles in.
With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything in our power to get you feeling better as quickly as possible. If you think you may be suffering from an ingrown toenail, give us a call to set an appointment at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at email@example.com