An ingrown toenail can go from being a mild annoyance to serious foot health problems very quickly. If you have symptoms like pain in your big toe, swelling, and redness, it’s important that you seek treatment before the toe grows badly infected. At Beverly Hills Foot & Ankle, Dr. Nisha Krishnan, DPM, offers customized ingrown toenail solutions, including an in-office procedure for removal if you need it. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.
Ingrown toenails are a common problem in which your toenail grows underneath the skin on the side of your toe. Ingrown toenails can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. Sometimes, ingrown toenails weep or ooze fluid. If bacteria gets below the skin, your toenail may develop an odor due to pus buildup. Ingrown toenails are most common on the big toe, but can occur on any of the toes.
The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your nails the wrong way. When you cut your nails, always make a straight across motion instead of curving the nails downward. When you curve the nails down, you make it easier for them to burrow into your skin and potentially become ingrown.
Another common reason for ingrown toenails is footwear that compresses your toes. For example, shoes with pointed toes can crowd your toes and make it more likely to develop ingrown nails.
For some ingrown toenail sufferers, the condition is hereditary. If you have immediate family members who regularly have ingrown toenails, it's important that you keep your nails properly trimmed and wear footwear that allows your feet to breathe to minimize your risk.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes fluid retention, or if you're taking medications that cause fluid retention, you may be more likely to develop ingrown toenails. Being overweight or obese may also increase the chances of developing ingrown toenails.
Treatment depends on how severe the damage is and whether you still have a healthy toenail. After administering local anesthesia to keep you comfortable, Dr. Krishnan can remove part of the toenail in a short surgical procedure in the office if necessary. If you have a chronically ingrown toenail, Dr. Krishnan may need to remove the entire nail. If this is necessary, your nail will grow back.
Dr. Krishnan may prescribe a topical ointment that you'll apply daily as directed, and you may also need oral antibiotics if your ingrown toenail is badly infected. Closely follow Dr. Krishnan's guidelines after your ingrown toenail procedure to ensure optimal healing.