Sometimes the simplest thing can cause the most discomfort. Ingrown toenails are a huge pain, both literally and figuratively. This simple issue can make walking comfortably impossible. Even worse, if left long enough without reprieve, it can become a major issue. Ingrown toenails that you can’t take care of on your own require professional treatment to avoid complications like infections.
While an infected toenail may not sound like an alarming issue to have initially, you should never underestimate an infection of any kind and always take them seriously. What may seem like a minor issue at first can quickly become a major medical issue that requires more prolonged treatment.
So, what should you do when it comes to ingrown toenails? Why do they happen and how can you avoid them? Luckily, Dr. Errol Gindi and his expert staff have the answers for you.
What is an ingrown toenail?
Take a look at your nails. Note how they grow up and out of the finger. Yes, they are rooted in the side, but they aren’t growing deeper on the sides. That is, when they grow properly, they grow up and out. An ingrown nail is when the nail grows into the soft flesh in the sides of your toes or fingers. Any nail can become ingrown, but it most commonly occurs in the big toe. You can usually tell when a nail becomes ingrown due to the hallmark symptoms of the condition.
How do you know it’s ingrown?
Ingrown toenails tend to present themselves quite obviously. The first thing you’ll notice is discomfort in the side of your toe that tends to be amplified when weight is placed on it. You may even feel pain on both sides of the toe. You’ll also begin to notice reddening and swelling around your toenail.
Increasing swelling can indicate the development or spreading of infection. If you reach the point where pus is coming from the toe, you definitely have an infection and need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you’re diabetic, an ingrown toenail is even more of a concern due to infection risks and healing issues. You may also experience more ingrown toenails than the average person.
How did the toenail grow like that?
Many times, ingrown toenails are avoidable. Usually, the reason that an ingrown toenail occurs is behavioral. For example, cutting a nail too short or rounding off the edges can encourage the nail to grow inwards. Poorly fitting shoes or socks that are too tight can do the same. If your toenails are constantly being pushed in by shoes that are too tight, the nail can eventually grow into the skin. Injuries, like stubbing your toe, can also sometimes cause ingrown toenails to develop.
How can an ingrown toenail be treated?
Ingrown toenail treatment depends on the severity. For more moderate to extreme cases, it’s suggested you make an appointment with Dr. Gindi. He will perform a minor procedure that involves numbing your toe and removing the piece of ingrown nail. Dr. Gindi will numb the area because he must go deep into the toe to remove the entire ingrown piece. Following the procedure, you can expect your toenail to fully grow back. If you have chronic ingrown nails in one particular toe, the doctor may opt to destroy the nail root. In this instance, the nail will not grow back.
Ingrown toenails, while seemingly not as critical of an issue as a sprained ankle or a fracture, can certainly lead to complications that affect your daily life, and you should not underestimate them. While they often don’t pose serious risks, you should never put yourself in a position where you may develop an infection or be living with an infection for an extended period of time. Any infection has the capability of becoming dangerous if left untreated for too long.
If you’re dealing with the nagging pain of an ingrown toenail or you fear that you may have one that is infected, you should seek professional care right away. Book an appointment online with us today or call our office at 516-200-4285.