By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
April 02, 2016
Tags: Ingrown Toenail  

A painful condition that we see frequently at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care is an ingrown toenail. A nail becomes ingrown when the side of the nail curves downward and begins to grow back into the skin surrounding the nail bed. When this occurs, the nail can actually penetrate the skin and eventually become infected.

Signs of Ingrown Toenails

A patient that is not in the habit of examining his or her toenails may not initially be aware of an ingrown nail. When it progresses to the point where the nail has actually broken the surface of the skin, however, then the affected toe will become very sore, red and swollen and may feel hard and warm to the touch. If an infection has developed, there may be drainage coming from the nail bed area as well.

Treatment and Prevention

Sometimes simply soaking the foot in warm, soapy water several times a day will loosen the skin around the nail enough that the ingrown nail can be worked out. If this does not work, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral or Dr. Nrupa Shah who will examine your toenail and determine the proper treatment. If the nail has become infected, an antibiotic will most likely be prescribed. In extreme cases, a minor surgical procedure known as a partial nail plate avulsion may be necessary to remove all or part of the ingrown nail.

There are several factors that cause ingrown nails that you can take steps to avoid:

  • Cut your toenails straight across and don’t cut them too short. Improper trimming is one of the major causes of ingrown nails. If the nails are cut too short, the skin next to the nail is more likely to grow over it.
  • Make sure socks and shoes are not too tight. Repeatedly compressing the toenails can cause them to begin to ingrow. Even with properly fitting footwear, patients who run or participate in other high impact sports frequently or who have jobs that require them to be on their feet for long periods of time, may find that the constant pressure of the big toe pushing against the front of the shoe can cause an ingrown toenail.
  • Be watchful if you’ve injured your toe or have a fungal nail infection. Trauma and fungal infections can both lead to ingrown nails, so keep an eye on any nail that has been injured or infected.

Do not ignore an ingrown toenail. Left untreated, they will only get worse and an infection will most likely occur. Contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment to get relief for this painful condition.