An ingrown toenail happens when the edges or corners of the nails grow into the surrounding soft flesh. It can develop in any toenail but mainly develops on your big toe, resulting in pain, inflamed skin, swelling, or infection. Ingrown toenails can affect anyone but are more common in individuals with sweaty feet, like teenagers. You can treat your ingrown toenails at home, but some require medical attention. If your ingrown toenail has an infection, you need to see your foot surgeon Fort Worth to prevent further complications. Diabetes or poor circulation issues in your feet can increase the risk of getting severe conditions.
There are various causes of ingrown toenails: poor posture, genetic factors, irregular curved toenails, and wrong-foot hygiene, like not keeping your feet clean or dry. Footwear that exacts a lot of pressure on your big toes, like socks and stockings that are incredibly tight or very tight shoes, narrow or flat for the feet, can lead to ingrown toenails. Cutting toenails incorrectly or toenail injuries like stubbing the toe or repetitive kicking of a ball can also cause an ingrown toenail.
If your toenail is not infected, you can treat it at home, but you need medical treatment if it has pierced your skin or has any sign of infection.
You can soak your feet in warm water three times daily, between fifteen to twenty minutes. You can also push the skin away from your toenail edge with a ball of cotton wool soaked in olive oil. Your doctor can recommend over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen to relieve pain. In some cases, applying topical antibiotics like neomycin or a steroid cream can help prevent infection. You should seek immediate medical care if your home treatment does not relieve pain or you have difficulties walking or performing your daily duties.
If your ingrown toenail does not improve after home treatment or an infection develops, you may need surgery. If your ingrown is infected, the affected toe can have pus and feel hot or shivery. There are different forms of surgical procedures for ingrown toenails. These surgical processes include:
Partial nail removal: This type of surgery involves your doctor removing the piece of nail that is digging into your skin. The doctor will numb your toe and cut away the sides of your nail so that the edges become entirely straight. You may need a piece of cotton under the remaining portion of your nail to prevent the ingrown toenail from recurring. Your doctor can also treat the toenail with phenol, preventing the nail from growing back. Studies show that partial nail removal in ninety-eight percent of patients effectively prevents ingrown toenails in the future.
Total nail removal: Your doctor can recommend this type of surgery if your ingrown toenail results from thickening. The doctor administers a local pain injection and removes the whole nail in a process called a matrixectomy. After total nail removal, your toenail can take over a year to grow back.
Trimming your toenails straight across, wearing shoes that fit correctly, keeping toenails at moderate length, and checking your feet for any abnormalities can help prevent ingrown nails. Schedule an appointment at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center for an ingrown toenail treatment to relieve your pain.