Also known as onychocryptosis, ingrown toenails are usually caused when people trim their toenails too short, traditionally on the sides of the big toes. The condition may also be caused by excessive shoe pressure (generally from tight or short shoes), injury, poor foot structure, fungal infection or heredity. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, increasing the possibility of causing an infection.
While ingrown toenails are a common ailment experience by many patients, they can be particularly painful and require prompt attention. In beginning stages, the toenails start out as hard, swollen and tender. If not treated, the condition can worsen dramatically. The affected area may become red, sore and infected as the skin starts to grow over the ingrown toenail.
In most cases, treatment is fairly simple. The first step you should follow is to soak the foot in epsom salt several times a day. Obviously, try and avoid wearing tight socks and shoes while the symptoms are present. Antibiotics are prescribed if there is evidence of an infection. In severe cases where there is an acute infection, it may be necessary to remove part of the ingrown toenail through surgical means. This procedure is called partial nail plate avulsion and involves administering an injection of anesthesia followed by carefully cutting out the ingrown toenail.
This condition can affect all groups of people. There are many causes of ingrown toenails that range from improper shoe wear, specific activities, and even genetic predisposition. These conditions can be cured immediately with a simple in office procedure. There is also procedures that can be performed in our office as permanent treatment options for recurrent ingrown toenails. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, do not hesitate to call to set up an appointment.