What are Ingrown Nails?
An Ingrown nail is the result of a nail growing into the skin that surrounds it. This often occurs at either edge of the big toe. Ingrown nails may be caused by improper trimming, inherited nail deformities, injuries, fungal infections, or pressure.
Ingrown nails may cause pain at the tip of the toe or all the way to the base of the toe. The pain is often worse while walking. An ingrown nail may also lead to infection, inflammation, or a more serious condition. If it’s infected, you might see pus or redness.
To determine the extent of your problem, your podiatrist examines and possible palpates (presses) the painful area. If other problems are suspected, blood tests, cultures, or x-rays may be done as well.
If the nail isn’t infected, your podiatrist may trim the corner of it to help relieve your symptoms.
Surgical TreatmentSurgical treatment may be required to prevent reoccurence. The treatment is called Partial Matrixectomy. A wedge of the nail bed is removed. The base of the nail is then treated with a chemical to keep the ingrown part from growing back. This simple procedure is brief. To prevent pain, a local anesthetic may be used in these procedures. This treatment is usually done at your podiatrist’s office.
- Shoe modifications
- May need treatment for underlying fungal infection
- X-ray for bone spur under nail which may require removal
How Can I Prevent Nail Problems?
Many nail problems can be prevented by wearing the right shoes and trimming your nails properly. To help avoid infections, keep your feet clean and dry. If you have diabetes or vascular disease, talk with your podiatrist before doing any foot self-care.
The Right Shoes
Get your feet measured (your size may change as you age). Wear shoes that are supportive and roomy enough for your toes to wiggle. Look for shoes made of natural materials such as leather, which allow your feet to breathe.
To avoid problems, trim your toenails straight across without cutting down into the corners. If you can’t trim your own nails, ask your podiatrist to do so for you.Download PDF