A very painful condition that we at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care treat frequently in our Edison (732-204-6630), Monroe (732-204-6802) or Monmouth Junction (732-204-6945) offices is the ingrown toenail. If you notice the edge of one of your toenails growing into the flesh surrounding your nail, you’ll want to get relief as soon as possible. Below are some do’s and don’ts for dealing with this condition.
DO: try soaking the nail in warm water and Epsom salts and soap. Once the skin is soft, try to gently rub the nail out of the skin. Apply antiseptic ointment and a bandage.
DON:T: attempt any “bathroom surgeries.” Do no use sharp instruments to try to dig the nail out. This will likely lead to an injury. Forget “folk remedies,” as well. Ideas like sticking a piece of cotton between the nail and your skin or cutting a notch in the side of the toe are not only ineffective, they’re dangerous.
DO: make an appointment to see our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah, if soaking the foot does not allow you to remove the nail without delay. Waiting will only result in worse pain. In addition, once the nail actually penetrates the skin, it opens a pathway for bacteria to enter which may result in an infection. Oozing, pus, foul odor, increased redness, and fever are all possible signs of infection and should be treated immediately.
DON:T: wear socks and shoes that tight in the toe area. Shoes with narrow or pointy toe boxes and high heels that force the toes together increase the risk of toenails becoming ingrown.
DO: take the time to trim nail properly. Cut straight across with no rounded edges and do not file into a rounded shape. Never tear or pull loose pieces of nail off.
DON’T: be afraid to come into the office to get this condition taken care of. The podiatrist will numb your toe first and then remove the ingrown nail. If this is a recurring problem, the foot doctor can perform a minor procedure that will permanently prevent the nail from growing back.