You probably don’t think much about your toenails. So you might be surprised at how much pain they can cause if they become ingrown!
Ingrown toenails are an extremely common condition that occurs when the part of the nail along the corner or edge digs into the adjacent skin, rather than grow out like normal. The vast majority of ingrown toenails affect the biggest toes on each foot.
A severe ingrown toenail can cause significant pain—and the longer it goes untreated, the greater your chance of developing a dangerous bone infection.
Fortunately, there’s good news here. Ingrown toenails are one of the simplest conditions to treat for a podiatrist. If you’re hurting, just give us a call—we’ll have you feeling better almost immediately.
What Are the Common Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?
Ingrown toenails are fairly easy to spot. In addition to pain along the nail border, you’ll probably notice tenderness, redness, and swelling. It may become painfully difficult just to put on your shoes.
Ingrown toenails that become infected may become warm or even develop pus. This is a dangerous situation that requires immediate treatment, especially if you have diabetes or compromised circulation.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
There are several possible causes of this condition. Some of the most common we see include:
- Poor shoes. In particular, shoes that are too small and too tight in the toe box area can put pressure on the nails. This pushes them downward or sideways, causing them to snag on skin.
- Poor nail trimming. Clipping your nails too short can increase the risk that they will become ingrown as they grow out. Leaving them too long can also be a problem, too. Keep your nails neatly and comfortably trimmed, mostly straight across—do not “round” off the corners.
- Pedicure mishaps. Unfortunately, we see a lot of patients come in with an ingrown toenail right after a pedicure. This could be because the nails were trimmed too short, or because of how they were shaped during the pedicure.
- Other injuries. Direct blows to the toenail—for example, dropping an object on them or stubbing your toe against furniture—can alter the shape of the nail and cause it to become ingrown.
- Genetic factors. It may simply be that your toenails are naturally shaped in a way that increases your risk for ingrown toenails. In some cases we’ve even seen babies with ingrown toenails, before they even begin to walk or wear shoes regularly!
How We Fix Ingrown Toenails
Please don’t wait for the pain to severely impact your quality of life, or for the toe to get infected. We can fix your ingrown toenail and provide instant relief, all in the span of a brief office visit.
Although very mild ingrown toenails might go away on their own, and home treatments can be effective in some cases, we find that these are usually not worth the potentially long period of discomfort—and the risk that they will get worse.
At your appointment, we’ll apply a local anesthetic and gently trim out and remove the ingrown portion of the nail, then clean up the surrounding tissue. If desired, we can also remove a portion of the nail matrix so that the problematic portion of the nail border will not grow back. This is an especially beneficial procedure for those who have repeatedly struggled with ingrown toenails, since the recurrence rate afterwards is nearly zero.
If there is an ongoing infection, or the potential for one, we will also prescribe antibiotics.
The pain relief is immediate and significant. Already by the time the anesthetic wears off, you should feel a lot better.
Full healing can take several days to a couple of weeks, but most people are able to return to everyday activities (work, school, etc.) right away, and more serious athletic training not long after.
Professional care is the best, fastest, safest, and most convenient way to recover from an ingrown toenail. So stop suffering and give us a call! Just reach out to whichever office is most convenient for you:
- Oklahoma City: (405) 947-8041
- Enid: (580) 237-3338