As the name suggests, an ingrown toenail is a nail that grows into the soft flesh of the toe. It's a condition that usually affects the big toe more than any of the others. The piercing of the nail into the tissue around the nail bed can cause pain, redness, swelling and, often, infection as it breaks through the skin surface.
The symptoms will vary based on the extent of the tissue damage and whether there is an infection or not. Most patients with this problem complain of:
It is possible an ingrown toenail will resolve itself, but patients should make an appointment if:
It is especially important for people with diabetes or any other condition that leads to poor circulation in the feet to seek medical treatment for even a minor ingrown toenail. When there is poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet, even something minor like this can fail to heal properly. That may leave the patient will an open sore that can cause tissue decay and eventually, gangrene.
In most cases, the cause is cutting the toenail too short. This can cause the nail to push inward as it starts to grow longer. Other possible causes include:
It is usually a combination of problems that lead to the ingrown nail.
The podiatrist at Glenoaks Podiatry Group may initially suggest some home treatments to resolve the problem. If they fail to work, the doctor can try lifting the nail and inserting something small, like dental floss, under it to encourage the nail to grow correctly. This is only an option if there is no infection. For more serious cases, the doctor may opt to remove all or part of the nail to relieve the pressure and treat any underlying infection.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!