What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails form when the nail begins to grow into adjacent skin, causing pain and inflammation. This can be a result of trimming nails too short or at an angle, wearing shoes that are too tight, genetics or even trauma, which results in the nail growing abnormally.
Ingrown toenails typically affect the big toes, but can occur in any digit.
What can I do at home if I am experiencing symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
In the early stages of an ingrown toenail there are many at home remedies that you can implore. Most mild cases will respond to home treatment and may even resolve.
Warm water and Epsom salt foot soaks – This allows for softening and exfoliation of the skin, thus allowing for reduction in redness and swelling of the site.
Wearing wider shoe gear or sandals – this limits rubbing to the ingrown nail site, limiting pain and further irritation
Packing the site of ingrown with dental floss or cotton – packing a piece of cotton or dental floss under the edge of the ingrown may result in the nail growing outward and prevent deeper in-growing.
Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to help with pain and inflammation.
NEVER attempt to cut your own ingrown nail. Many times, trying to render this sort of self-care results in further discomfort and worsening of the problem.
How can I prevent ingrown toenails?
When trimming your toenails, make sure that you cut them straight across. Never go digging into to corners and always make sure you are using a clean nail nipper.
Wear well fitting shoes with a wide toe box to limit rubbing and irritation.
When should I see a podiatrist?
Many times, without proper care and attention, ingrown toenails may become worse, requiring more aggressive intervention.
If not responding to home remedies, ingrown toenails can quickly become infected. If you are experiencing persistent redness, swelling, drainage, pus then you should immediately see a podiatrist. A localized ingrown infection can worsen eventually leading to fever, chills and in extreme cases bone infection. Many times, you will require a short course of oral antibiotic if an infection is present.
If you are immunocompromised in any way you are at greater risk for such infection and should see a specialist at the first sign of an ingrown nail.
Patients with vascular disease and poor blood flow are also at high risk for complications due to an ingrown nail and should be evaluated immediately. An untreated ingrown nail in these patients can lead to gangrene and tissue death.
Many times, a quick in office procedure is all you need to get back on your feet and alleviate pain.
In addition, if you suffer from chronic and recurring ingrown nails a specialist may be able to provide you with a more permanent option to prevent future problems.
If you are suffering from ingrown toenails or any nail disorders our skilled physicians and Prime Foot and Ankle are here to help. Call 856-384-1333 to book an evaluation today. Same day appointments available.