Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas
Foot and Ankle Surgeons & Podiatrists located in Matthews, NC & Monroe, NC
Ingrown toenails may seem like a minor problem, but they cause extreme pain and can become infected. At Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas, Eric Ward, DPM, and Blaise Woeste, DPM, offer treatment that relieves your pain, promotes healing, and prevents complications. If you have questions about a toenail problem or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Matthews or Monroe, North Carolina, or use the online booking form.
Ingrown Toenails Q & A
What causes ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail, called onychocryptosis, occurs when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin. Most ingrown toenails are caused by:
Trimming your toenails improperly
If you trim your toenail too short or give it a rounded shape instead of cutting it straight across the top, the skin on the sides of the nail can grow over the edge of the nail. As the nail grows, it pushes deeper into the skin.
Wearing tight shoes
Shoes that are too short or too tight push against the nail, causing an ingrown toenail.
Sustaining trauma or having a foot deformity
You have a higher risk of developing ingrown toenails after injuring your toe, especially if you sustain repetitive injuries, or if you have a foot deformity like flatfoot, hammertoe, or a bunion.
What symptoms develop due to an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are known for being extremely painful. You’ll also have red, swollen skin in the affected area. Ingrown toenails that go untreated can develop an infection that spreads.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
As long as you’re not diabetic and you don’t have an infection, you can often treat an ingrown toenail at home. Soak your foot in warm, soapy water several times daily and after your foot is dry, apply an antibiotic cream. It’s also important to avoid wearing tight socks and shoes.
If you self-treat your ingrown toenail, don’t trim the nail. It’s easy to accidentally cut the swollen skin around the nail, which makes the problem worse.
Don’t take care of your ingrown toenail at home if you have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or another circulatory problem that affects blood circulation. These conditions inhibit healing and increase your risk of complications. Your podiatrist carefully cleans your wound, treats your ingrown toenail, and manages your recovery.
You should have the team at Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas take care of your ingrown toenail when:
- Your pain is severe
- Your ingrown toenail doesn’t improve in several days
- You develop signs of an infection
- You have diabetes or vascular disease
After releasing the nail, your podiatrist may use a temporary splint to separate the nail from the skin while it heals. They may also perform a procedure to prevent recurring ingrown toenails.
Don’t wait to get help for an ingrown toenail. Call Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas or schedule an appointment online.
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