What Is The Treatment For Ingrown Toenails
Mild ingrown toenails can be treated at home. Soak your foot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Dry your foot, then place a twist of cotton under the corner of your nail. You can wet the cotton with water or a disinfectant. This should be changed at least once a day. Try to wear open-toe shoes, such as sandals, that do not rub the toenail. This will help healing and remove chances of irritation. Contact your doctor if your ingrown toenail does not improve or gets worse, including increased pain, swelling, and drainage.
An ingrown toenail may require minor office surgery. The procedure involves removing the part of the nail that is ingrown. Before surgery, the doctor will numb your toe by injecting it with medicine. The doctor will lift your toenail along the edge that is growing into your skin. Then, the doctor will cut and pull out that piece of nail. The doctor may apply a small electrical charge or liquid solution to the exposed part of your nail bed. This is called ablation. It should keep the toenail from growing into your skin again. Not all people need ablation.
Instructions to follow after office surgery for ingrown toenail:
Soak your foot in warm water each day.
Keep a bandage over the site until it heals.
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for pain.
Keep the wound clean and dry you may shower the day after surgery.
Wear loose fitting shoes or open-toe shoes for the first two weeks.
Avoid running or strenuous activity for the first two weeks.
Ingrown Toenail Surgery Prognosis
Ingrown toenail surgery is generally safe and effective. If you have a partial toenail removal, your nail may grow back in approximately three to four months. If you had your toenail totally removed, regrowth can take up to a year. The nail that grows back will be thinner than it was before. Theres also a good chance that it wont grow back and your toenail bed will heal fine without it.
However, there are potential complications, such as infection, which is possible after any surgery. Your doctor will give you wound care instructions to help prevent infection.
While uncommon, its also possible for the doctor to damage deeper parts of the nail bed during surgery. This could cause drainage and poor healing.
Even after surgery, your toenail can become ingrown again. Sometimes this is because the new nail can grow in curved. An ingrown toenail can also come back if you continue wearing poorly fitting shoes, or if your toenail naturally grows in a curved direction.
Common symptoms of ingrown toenails include:
- pain around your toenail edges
- buildup of fluid and thickening in the skin around your toenail
- redness and swelling around your toenail
- infection with draining pus around the toenail
Foot Health: What To Do About An Ingrown Toenail
Warm soaks and proper nail trimming may do the trick, but sometimes it’s best to see a foot specialist right away.
The medical term for this painful condition is onychocryptosis. It develops, usually on the big toe, when a corner of the toenail curves down and digs into the skin. The symptoms may include soreness, swelling, redness, and warmth. If the toenail breaks the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection. Eventually, skin may start to grow over the ingrown part of the nail.
You can do several things at home to treat an ingrown toenail. However, if you suspect an infection, or if you have diabetes, circulation problems, or numbness in the toes, skip the home remedies and see your clinician or a foot specialist immediately.
Preventing ingrown toenails
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What Is The Treatment For An Ingrown Toenail
Treatment is dependent on the stage of the condition. However, at any stage of an ingrown toenail, the patient should avoid tight-fitting or high-heeled shoes. If possible, wear sandals until it has cleared up.
Stage 1 ingrown toenail should be managed conservatively using the following methods.
- Warm water soaks soak the foot in warm water four times a day.
- Wash the foot including the affected area twice a day with soap and water.
- Cotton-wick insertion in the lateral groove corner gently lift the edge of the nail that is digging into the skin and place a small piece of rolled cotton, gauze, dental tape or floss, between the nail and the skin to keep it elevated. This may be painful but should be done after every soaking.
Stage 2 ingrown toenail may require the administration of topical or oral antibiotics. Topical antibiotic ointments combined with local anaesthetic agents help to heal the toe faster and also provide pain relief by numbing the affected area. Surgical removal of the ingrown toenail may be required if the condition worsens.
Stage 3 ingrown toenail is often treated surgically. The surgical technique of lateral nail avulsion plus matricectomy is highly successful. A brief description of this procedure is given below.
The following post-surgery procedures should be followed:
What Causes An Ingrown Toenail
There are many possible causes. One is trauma for example, you stub the toe or drop something on it, or someone steps on it. Loss of the toenail, repetitive pressure from certain sports, a fungal infection, or psoriasis may be to blame. Thick or curved toenails are particularly susceptible, and some people have an inherited tendency to develop nail problems. Improper nail trimming cutting the nail too short at the corners may be implicated.
The risk of ingrown toenails is raised by wearing shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or too short. According to Dr. James Ioli, Chief of Podiatry at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, women’s high heels are a common source of trouble: “Increased heel height transfers most of your body weight toward the front of the foot. The big toes are subjected to a lot of pressure and deforming forces over the years as a result of high heels, especially if you wear them consistently for a long period of time. Even if you don’t have a problem now, you may eventually develop one.”
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Apple Cider Vinegar Soak
Apple cider vinegar is considered a folk remedy for a majority of ailments these days. And this includes ingrown nails. Apple cider vinegar is known to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and pain-relieving properties.
However, scientific evidence for apple cider vinegar as a remedy to common ailments is limited at best.
You can try to treat an ingrown nail by soaking your affected foot in a bucket or basin of warm water mixed with a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. Do this for up to 20 minutes daily.
Remember to always dry your foot thoroughly once you are done with the soaking.
Helping The Toenail Heal
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Risks Complications And Things You Should Know About Ingrown Toenails
Its also important to note that if you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, youre at greater risk of complications of ingrown toenails. Thats just another reason to treat your diabetes.
Left untreated or undetected, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection. Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes, which can cause poor blood flow and damage nerves in your feet. So a minor foot injury a cut, scrape, corn, callus or ingrown toenail may not heal properly and become infected.
A difficult-to-heal open sore may require surgery to prevent the decay and death of tissue . Gangrene results from an interruption in blood flow to an area of your body.
Pack The Area With Dental Floss Or Cotton
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, placing cotton under your nail may increase pain and allow harmful bacteria to thrive. Soaking the cotton or floss in alcohol before application may help reduce this risk.
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Other Treatment For An Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail may also be treated by a gutter splinter using slit plastic tubing to keep the nail, and the lateral nail folds apart. These are held in place by using tape or acrylic adhesive. An artificial nail may be sculptured using formable acrylic solution.
Chemical or medical nail avulsion is a painless, slow way to remove damaged nails. As the process destroys the whole nail, it is rarely used for ingrown toenails.
Alternative surgical procedures are described, for example, removal of the surrounding soft tissue and shortening the bone of the distalphalanx.
The Nature Of The Problem
When a toenail digs into your skin it becomes ingrown and can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Shoe pressure, fungal infections, and clipping your toenails improperly can all lead to ingrown toenails. You can temporarily relieve discomfort by soaking your foot in a solution of lukewarm water and salt. However, that wont take care of the underlying condition. If left untreated, a persistent ingrown toenail can have serious health consequences, including infections that can migrate to the tissue and bone near the nail.
At JAWS Podiatry, our experienced podiatrists have several options for treating ingrown toenails. Which one will be recommended for you depends on the nature and seriousness of the condition, and whether it is an isolated issue or one that arises repeatedly.
The three main ways we treat an ingrown toenail are:
After any of the foregoing procedures, you will need to take care of the effected toe to prevent infection and encourage healing. This may involve cleaning the wound and soaking in Epsom salts and/or anti-microbial soap every day for a couple of weeks, as well as the application of an antibacterial cream and small bandage. We also recommend wearing open-toe or loose-fitting shoes to keep pressure off the toe while it heals.
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What Causes An Infected Toenail
Your toenail can become infected in a number of ways, including fungal infections or even calluses caused by your shoes. One of the most common types of toenail infections is an ingrown toenail. If your toenail is ingrown, it means the edges of your toenail start to grow into the skin next to your toenail. Ingrown toenails can be red and inflamed, sore, and may even be filled with pus.
The most common causes of an ingrown toenails include:
- Cutting your toenail too short or too long
- Toenail injury
- Curved toenails
- Improper footwear that puts pressure on your big toes
- Cutting your toenail improperly
- Certain sports and activities like dance, soccer, and skiing
- Poor foot hygiene
Infections on your toes may be common if you have diabetes or similar conditions that cause poor circulation or a weakened immune system. Diabetics should check their feet often and have regular appointments with a podiatrist because they may not feel the pain of a toe infection until the problem is severe.
What Is An Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the nail curls down and grows into the skin around the nail.
Any toe can be affected but it commonly occurs in the big toe.
An ingrown toenail can become painful and inflamed .
Sometimes, it can become infected, which, if left untreated, can spread and infect the underlying bone.
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How To Remove Infection From An Ingrown Toenail
This article was co-authored by . Dr. Mark Co is a Podiatrist who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, California. Dr. Co specializes in treatments for bunions, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, warts, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. He also offers custom orthotics for the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle issues. Dr. Co completed a Master of Business Administration at New York University and an MA in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Co also completed his DPM at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and a residency and internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Co was awarded San Francisco’s “Top 3 Podiatrists” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Co is also a member of the CPMA .wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 21 testimonials and 89% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,893,899 times.
How To Flatten A Curved Toenail
A curved toenail could eventually become a painful ingrown toenail if it’s not dealt with properly 1. The nail becomes inflamed and sore, eventually leading to an unpleasant trip to the doctor. While there is no way to flatten or change the shape of an existing toenail, you can help correct the symptoms and alleviate the pain. The process is done by lifting the curve away from the flesh until it grows out normally, or by properly trimming the nail to eventually remove the curved part completely.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Medical Treatment Of Ingrown Toenails
Once your ingrown toenail has progressed past the first stage, you may need to seek medical help. There are various surgical treatments of ingrown toenails your podiatrist may recommend. All of these are standard, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons .
Wedge Resection: This involves the partial removal of the nail or a portion of it, after numbing your toe with a local anesthetic and draining any ingrown toenail infection. Your doctor can perform this procedure in the office and the recovery time is anywhere between two weeks to two months, depending on the size of the nail portion removed.
Matrixectomy: The matrixectomy procedure is also referred to as permanent or full nail avulsion. Unlike typical avulsions, which arent often practiced anymore , a matrixectomy happens when the physician removes the entire nail from your nail bed and then covers the nail matrix with a chemical that stops it from ever growing back.
Vandenbos Procedure: The Vandenbos procedure has been around since the late 1950s and involves removal of the skin directly underneath and on either side of the ingrown toenail. Recovery is longer with this procedure, but this is also the only procedure in which a doctor does not need to prescribe antibiotics for prevention of infections. It also seems to be the procedure most likely to prevent recurrences of ingrown nails.
Ingrown Toenail Medical Treatment
Your doctor will look at your toe to see if itâs ingrown. They may:
- Lift the nail. The doctor might lift the ingrown nail and put a splint under it to relieve some pressure. When you get home, youâll remove the splint, soak the nail, and put the splint back.
- Cut away part of the nail. If the doctor has to do this, theyâll numb your toe with a shot first.
- Remove the whole nail and some tissue. If your ingrown nail keeps coming back, this might be an option. The doctor will numb your toe first with a shot. They might remove the section thatâs ingrown or your whole toenail. They may have to destroy the nail bed underneath the area so the nail doesnât regrow or grows back thinner.
Your doctor might also suggest:
- Antibiotics. You might need to take antibiotics in the form of a pill or as an ointment to put on your toe.
- More comfortable shoes. If your shoes put too much pressure on your toes, you could get an ingrown toenail. Make sure you wear wide shoes that fit you and give your toes lots of space to move around.
- A toe brace. This is a plastic or metal brace that goes over your toenail to relieve pain and pressure.
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