When you cut your toenails too short, you may develop an ingrown toenail that causes pain and inflammation. Though you may treat an ingrown toenail at home, you may develop an infection with this condition. When you have an ingrown toenail with complications, Joel Davis, MD, and the team at Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Associates can provide the expert care you need to relieve symptoms. Call the office in Edmond, Oklahoma, or book an appointment online today.
An ingrown toenail occurs when your toenail grows into your skin, usually at the side of the nail bed, causing pain, swelling, and inflammation. This type of foot condition usually affects the big toe.
Though you may be able to treat an ingrown toenail with at-home care, such as soaking your toe in Epsom salts and massaging the area, the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Associates team discourages “bathroom surgery” in an attempt to fix your ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails are a common site of infection, and any attempts to correct your nail at home may worsen your condition. The team also recommends anyone with a history of diabetes or circulation problems skip at-home care and schedule an appointment right away.
Most people develop an ingrown toenail because they cut their toenails too short or taper the sides of the nail. This type of toenail cutting encourages the skin that surrounds your nail bed to grow inward. Then, as the toe grows out, it cuts into the skin, creating inflammation and pain.
Foot trauma, a toenail fungal infection, and wearing shoes that are too tight may also lead to an ingrown toenail.
Your genetics may also make you more prone to developing the toe condition.
The Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Associates team conducts a thorough exam when you come in with concerns about an ingrown toenail. They review your symptoms and medical history and examine your feet.
The team takes a sample of any drainage from your toenail to confirm or rule out an infection.
Treatment for your ingrown toenail depends on the severity of your symptoms.
During the early stages of an ingrown toenail, the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Associates team may recommend conservative treatments such as regular soaking and gentle lifting of the nail with cotton or dental floss to encourage normal nail growth.
If you have an infection, the team may prescribe antibiotics and recommend surgery to remove some of the toenail and a portion of the soft tissue under the nail. For patients with recurring ingrown toenails and infections, your orthopedic surgeon may suggest the removal of the entire nail.
Early intervention for an ingrown toenail may prevent the need for surgery. Call Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Associates, or schedule an appointment online today.