Ingrown toenails are a painful and relatively common occurrence that usually happens on our big toes. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) about 20% of people will suffer from ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails can become troublesome in your teens and early 20s and can continue throughout adulthood. But what exactly is an ingrown toenail? How do you know if you have one? And what should you do if you suspect you may have an ingrown toenail? In the below post, we’ll take a closer look at ingrown toenails and discuss everything you need to know.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail starts when the skin on one or both sides of the toenail begins to grow over the nail fold or when the toenail grows into the skin. Ingrown toenails tend to be hard, swollen, and tender to the touch along the nail’s inside and outside borders. Eventually, it may become red, infected, and feel very sore. Sometimes, even the slightest touch of something soft like a bedsheet causes excruciating pain.
If you suspect you have an ingrown toenail and you have minor pain, there are a few things you can do to help at home. Soaking your foot in warm water and Epsom salt 2-3 times a day along with ibuprofen or acetaminophen can assist with pain relief. If there’s no improvement or your symptoms worsen after a couple of days, it’s time to see a specialist for proper ingrown toenail treatment. Leaving an ingrown toenail for just a few days without proper treatment can lead to more severe pain and infection.
How an Ingrown Toenail is Medically Treated
When it comes to treating ingrown toenails, Podiatrists are the experts in this field. In order to treat someone with an ingrown toenail, a minimally invasive procedure can be performed on the same day. And this minimal in-office procedure will help to ease the pain (and other symptoms) in as little as a few minutes.
Usually, Podiatrists can offer two different treatment options when helping with ingrown toenails-either a temporary or permanent treatment. Both are simple and easy to do. However, most patients choose the permanent (also known as the ‘one and done’ ) option to remove the ingrown toenail permanently. Recovery is brief, and the results are cosmetically pleasing. Aftercare kits and instructions are provided, and a quick follow-up appointment will need to take place about two weeks after the procedure. Here, your doctor will inspect the area, make sure there are no signs of an infection, and see how the healing process is coming along.
How Do You Get Ingrown Toenails?
There are a few ways you can develop an ingrown toenail. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Ingrown nails can be caused by cutting your nails too short or not straight across
- Wearing tight shoes that crowd your toes, trauma, or nail injuries can also cause them to form
- For most, the tendency for ingrown toenails is inherited, causing naturally curved toenails prone to becoming ingrown
- Additionally, using your feet for athletic activities such as soccer, football, ballet, and running can increase damage to the toenail and the risk of becoming ingrown
- Pregnancy can also lead to swelling of the feet, which can lead to ingrown toenails
How Can You Prevent Ingrown Toenails?
Luckily, there are many simple ways to help prevent ingrown toenails from developing. Some of these include:
- Wearing proper-fitting shoes can prevent ingrown toenails
- Many people recommend cutting the nails straight across. However, ingrown nails’ propensity is a genetic factor, so it’s recommended to trim them with the nail’s natural shape
- If a problem does arise, it is better to come in for immediate care from an expert rather than trying to perform surgery on yourself or having your pedicurist trim out the nail every two weeks
Contact Us Today
If you suspect you or your teenager might have an ingrown toenail, don’t delay and book an appointment with Yeargain Foot & Ankle (YF&A) today. At YF&A, ingrown toenails are among the most prevalent issues that we see in our Dallas office daily. When you have an ingrown toenail, it’s essential to see a specialist such as Dr. Yeargain and Dr. Agyen in order to avoid infection and minimize damage to the nail during treatment. Dr. Yeargain and Dr. Agyen focus on not only restoring functionality but preserving cosmetics. As always, Dr. Yeargain, Dr. Joseph Agyen Jr, and the clinic’s staff want their patients to heal as fast as possible while causing minimal disruption to their everyday lives. Before you know it, you’ll be back on your feet, looking and feeling better!
To learn more about ingrown toenails and the procedure itself, have a look at our FAQ section here. To book an appointment at Yeargain Foot & Ankle, call (972) 853-4886 or book an appointment via our contact page. We look forward to treating you.