An ingrown toenail seems like such a small problem, yet it typically causes intense pain. And if it doesn’t heal quickly, you can end up with a serious infection. The podiatrists at FOOTDRx often recommend that you try treating an ingrown toenail at home, but if your pain is severe, you have diabetes, or the skin becomes infected, they offer treatment that relieves your pain and helps the problem heal. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature, or call one of the New York City offices in Union Square, Midtown East in Manhattan, or Bushwick, Brooklyn; or the New Jersey location in Englewood.
You develop an ingrown toenail, called onychocryptosis, when the edge of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails are typically caused by:
If you trim your toenails too short, especially on the sides of the big toe, the skin can fold over the edge of the nail. As the nail grows, it goes deeper into the skin. You may also end up with an ingrown toenail if you give the nail a rounded shape instead of cutting it straight across the top.
Shoes that are too tight or too short place pressure on your big toe that can cause an ingrown toenail.
If you injure your toe, or you have a deformity such as hammertoe, flatfeet, or a bunion, you’re more likely to develop an ingrown toenail. In some cases, repetitive sports activities cause enough trauma to lead to the problem.
Ingrown toenails are often intensely painful, with red, swollen skin. When an ingrown toenail goes untreated, you can develop an infection that starts at the damaged area and spreads.
In most cases, you can treat an ingrown toenail at home by soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day. You should also apply an antibiotic cream and avoid wearing tight shoes and socks. However, don’t try to trim away the ingrown nail because it’s easy to accidentally cut the swollen skin and make the problem worse.
Patients who have diabetes or poor circulation due to a vascular problem should prevent potential complications by seeing a podiatrist at FOOTDRx rather than treating the ingrown toenail at home. Your podiatrist will carefully clean the wound and make sure there’s no sign of an infection.
If your ingrown toenail doesn’t improve in a few days, your pain is severe, or you develop signs of an infection such as redness and drainage, you should seek treatment at FOOTDRx.
Your podiatrist may use a temporary splint to separate the nail from the skin while it heals. If you have recurring ingrown toenails or a severe infection, they may remove part of the ingrown toenail with an in-office surgical procedure called partial nail plate avulsion.
To get prompt treatment of an ingrown toenail, call FOOTDRx or schedule an appointment online.