What Is an Ingrown Toenail?
Ingrown toenails are nails that are curved and grow into the skin causing irritation, pain, redness, and swelling. Ingrown toenails can cause a break in the skin. When this occurs it allows bacteria to enter the area which can cause infection.
- Family history
- Trauma - stubbing the toe, kicking, or running
- Shoes that are too tight or short
- Toenail fungus
- Most common - improper trimming of the toenails
Improper Trimming of Toenails
Cutting the nail too short, particularly along the sides of the big toes can encourage the skin next to the nail to fold over it. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen, and tender.
Physics may also be responsible for an increased risk for ingrown toenails. When toenails grow too quickly or slowly the nail’s curvature changes, resulting in an ingrown nail. People with fast-growing nails such as pregnant women (increased hormone levels) and children are more likely to get them. People with slow-growing nails, such as the elderly are also more likely to get them.
Most ingrown toenails will require a podiatrist or other medical professional to treat it. This is particularly true if an infection has set in or you have a medical condition such as diabetes, nerve damage, or poor circulation. If you don't have any of these problems you can visit our blog 9 Tips for Treating Painful Ingrown Toenails At Home. If you still are experiencing problems after trying these remedies make an appointment to be seen.
Treatment at our office can include:
- Oral antibiotics if an infection is present
- Surgery - this is a common procedure done right in our office. It is often needed in order to ease the pain and discomfort of the offending nail. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor removes part of the nail’s side border called a nail avulsion. After the toe has healed (usually seven days) a second procedure called a matricectomy is done. This second procedure is usually successful in preventing the ingrown toenail from coming back.
- Most of our patients experience very little pain after surgery and can start normal activity the next day.
To learn more about these procedures view the video below:
- Follow the post-op instructions given to you by our office
- If our doctors have prescribed oral antibiotics, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved.
- Trim your toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Wear shoes and socks that are not too tight.
- Keep your feet clean at all times.
For more information about ingrown toenails:
- Are You Performing Bathroom Surgery On Your Ingrown Toenails?
- Ingrown Toenails May Be Just A Matter of Physics
"My teenage son developed the worst ingrown toenails on both feet. They oozed and bled for months, to the point where some days he couldn't play on his soccer team because of the pain.
I tried all the home-grown remedies that I knew from childhood but nothing worked. He finally agreed that it was time to go to a professional. Enter Dr. Berg. My son was VERY apprehensive about anyone touching his feet because by this point they were so sensitive. Dr. Berg immediately put him at ease. He explained the problem, talked about the solution, and immediately started treatment. He knew exactly what to do.
Within days my son was almost completely healed and walking with much less pain. After a couple of follow-up appointments to make sure things were progressing as they should, he was done! Throughout all his visits both Dr. Berg and his staff were friendly, respectful, and empathetic. I would highly recommend this facility to any patient needing a podiatrist."
–Donna H., Seattle
"I had an ingrown toenail that needed attention. I am a "wimp" for pain and was very apprehensive when I saw Dr. Berg. He explained every thing he did step by step. I barely felt the needle when he numbed my toe (which I had heard was the worst part). No pain at all during the procedure to remove part of my toenail. For the next two weeks I kept waiting for my toe to start hurting. Never happened. Amazing! I just went back for my two-week checkup. Everything was great. I highly recommend Dr. Berg and his staff."
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.
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