Ingrown toenails can cause pain and tenderness and without treatment can also cause serious infections. Dr. Hoffman helps patients from Katonah, NY and throughout Westchester County relieve painful symptoms and prevent infection using special techniques to remove the affected nail so healing can occur
An ingrown toenail is a nail that begins to grow into the skin along the side of the nail bed instead of growing on top of the nail bed. In most cases, ingrown toenails occur on the big toe, which is often crowded by shoes that are to tight or which do not provide enough room in the toe portion of the shoe. Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful, causing redness, tenderness and swelling along the side of the nail bed. Symptoms usually become worse when wearing shoes or any time pressure is applied to the area. Without treatment, an ingrown toenail can cause serious infection that can spread to the rest of the foot and elsewhere.
Why do ingrown toenails occur?
Usually, a toenail becomes ingrown because poorly fitting shoes press the nail into the surface of the skin. Toenails that are not trimmed properly that is, straight across and not curved, can also become ingrown. People who have very thick nails or nails with a pronounced curve are also at greater risk. Patients who suffer from diabetes or issues affecting the circulatory or nervous systems may not always feel the pain associated with ingrown nails, allowing the nail area to become infected. For that reason, routine foot care is necessary to catch ingrown nails before infection occurs.
What treatments are used for ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails can be treated with a simple in-office procedure that removes the portion of the nail that’s ingrown or, in some cases, removes the entire nail. Before the nail is removed, a numbing anesthetic will be injected into the area to numb it. After removal, a special solution can be applied to the area to prevent the nail from growing back into the side of the nail bed. The procedure does not require any incisions or sutures, and in most cases, normal shoes can be worn once the nail is removed. If an infection is present, antibiotics also may be prescribed.