Ingrown toenails are painful! They can be bad enough that they affect the way you walk and require a visit to Dr. Sadoughi.
What is an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail is curved and growing back into your skin. This usually occurs at the toenail borders (sides of the nail). The digging of the toenail into the skin can create irritation and pain, redness, swelling, and warmth around the toenails. In some cases, an ingrown toenail can cause a break in your skin and bacteria can enter, creating an infection or abscess in the area. An infection in the skin around your toenail is often marked by a foul odor and yellow/white milky drainage.
Even if the toe is not painful or infected right now, a toenail that curves downward into the skin can progress to infection later on.
Cause of Ingrown Toenails
Heredity: In many people, the tendency for ingrown toenails is inherited.
Trauma: Sometimes an ingrown toenail is a result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe on the corner of the coffee table (ouch!) or having an object fall on your toe. Sometimes, engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.
Improper Trimming: The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your toenails too short. This encourages the skin around your nail to fold over the nail.
Improperly Sized Footwear: Ingrown toenails can result from wearing socks and shoes that are too tight or short.
Nail Conditions: Ingrown toenails can be caused by nail problems, such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma.
The treatment for an ingrown toenail is a fairly simple and quick procedure. After examining your toe, Dr. Sadoughi will select a treatment that is best suited for you. If an infection is present, you may have an oral antibiotic prescribed. Sometimes, a minor procedure is done in the office where Dr. Sadoughi will make a vertical cut to remove the part of the toenail that is ingrown.
Can it come back?
Some toenails can become ingrown again, requiring a permanent removal of the nail root.
Recovering From Ingrown Toenail Surgery
Ingrown toenail surgery is almost always an outpatient procedure. Most of our patients have very quick recoveries with little downtime. For the first day after surgery, you will need to limit the amount of pressure you put on your toe. If you play a sport or have a very physically demanding job, you may need to take 1-2 days off.
After the procedure you will need to:
- Apply betadine dressing to the toenail once a day
- Keep dry, clean bandages on the toe for 5-7 days
- Avoid baths, swimming or foot soaks until the wound has healed
- Take over-the-counter pain medication (Tylenol/Advil) for any discomfort
- Wear loose-fitting, supportive shoes with room to wiggle your toes
Ingrown toenails don’t have to keep you down! Contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sadoughi. Proper care and treatment of an ingrown toenail is key to keeping you pain and infection-free.