Ingrown ToenailsFinding the Relief You Need
Your toenails are intended to grow straight out. When they dig into your skin, it causes issues. At Brook Valley Podiatry, we help many patients find relief from the pain this common condition can cause. Learning more about ingrown toenails can enable you to take the right steps to find the care you need and, better yet, prevent them from happening to you.
Ingrown Toenail Overview
Essentially, this condition means that your nail has curved downward and is growing into the soft skin, instead of over it. This typically happens along the sides of the nail or at the front corners. While it can happen to any of the toes, it is most likely to affect the nails on the big toes. It is important to know that this condition is particularly dangerous for individuals who live with diabetes or other issues that negatively affect circulation in your legs and feet.
Symptoms of Ingrown Nails
The symptoms of this condition are pretty straightforward. You can observe that the nail has grown into the skin, but you may have pain and tenderness in the area as well. Other signs to look for include swelling, redness, and discoloration that might be explained by an infection. If you experience pus, redness that appears to be spreading, or severe discomfort, you should make the earliest possible appointment at either of our New York podiatry offices. Even if the condition does not seem severe, do the same if you have diabetes.
Causes behind Ingrown Toenails
There are essentially four main reasons that toenails start to grown into the skin:
- Improper Trimming – When individuals attempt to round off their toenails, it increases the risk of having the nails grow into the skin. Additionally, nails that are clipped too short can also lead to problems.
- Ill-Fitting Footwear – There are many foot conditions that can be caused by shoes that are too tight, including this one.
- Physical Trauma – When you drop something heavy on one of your feet, you could potentially break a bone, but you might also develop an ingrown toenail as a result.
- Inherited Structure – Toenails that are unusually curved might grow out in this unhealthy fashion.
Ingrown Toenail Treatment
For mild cases, you may be able to handle the toenail on your own. In order to do so, you will need to soak your feet carefully, place a bit of cotton or waxed dental floss gently between the nail and skin, apply antibiotic ointment, and then cover with a clean bandage. Repeat the process as necessary until the situation improves. Other steps you can take include wearing open-toed shoes or sandals or sensible footwear that has wide toe boxes, and using pain relievers. Consult with our office for dosage recommendations.
When it comes to the professional treatment that we offer here at Brook Valley Podiatry, we may need to either lift the nail, remove part of it, or, for recurring problems, remove the nail or affected part altogether. Our foot specialists will need to examine your affected toenails to determine the best course of treatment that will offer effective results.
Prevention of Ingrown Toenails
The good news when it comes to ingrown nails is that you can take steps to reduce the risk of them. Even better is that these measures can help with preventing other foot conditions from happening to you as well. Here are some things you can do:
- Wear shoes that fit well. If you cannot wiggle your toes freely, choose another pair. Footwear that is too tight can lead to an array of foot problems, so stick to ones that fit as they should.
- Protect your feet. If your job requires you to move heavy items, wear steel-toed boots or shoes. If you are moving heavy objects at home, ask for help to reduce your risk of dropping something on your feet.
- Trim your nails properly. Clip them straight across and keep them even with the edge of your toes.
- Always wear shoes or footwear with covered toes when doing housework or cooking.
Ingrown Toenail Care in Spring Valley and Midwood, Brooklyn
Home care and prevention tips might be all you need, but severe cases are best treated by the professionals in our Spring Valley and Midwood Brooklyn offices. Schedule your appointment online with Dr. Stuart Birnbaum today, or call us at (718) 434-0600.