You might think it's nothing to worry about at first, but dealing with an ingrown toenail at an early stage could save you a great deal of pain and inconvenience. If you spot an ingrown toenail, board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Michael Petrocelli, DPM, FACFAS, CWSP, of Collier Podiatry in Naples, Florida, can help. As well as treating the nail, Dr. Petrocelli uses chemical treatments that prevent it from becoming ingrown again. Call Collier Podiatry today to schedule a consultation!
Ingrown toenails are a common foot health problem, in which a nail – usually on the big toe - starts growing into the tissue surrounding it.
This abnormal direction of growth happens when something interferes with the nail's natural path and makes it dig into or grow through your skin.
Your toenails grow much more slowly than your fingernails, and you probably don't look at them so often either, so you might not be aware the nail is ingrown at first. In time, the nail goes deep enough into your flesh to cause inflammation and tenderness.
An ingrown toenail might not seem like much of a problem, particularly if it's not causing you any discomfort yet. The problem is that unless you treat them early on, ingrown toenails can get worse and lead to more worrying foot problems.
Infections might set in where the ingrown toenail is damaging the skin on your toe. Sometimes, these infections can spread into your bones and result in serious complications.
You should be especially aware of your feet and conditions like ingrown toenails if you have diabetes. Two common complications of diabetes are peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation. In combination, these problems make your feet vulnerable to infection.
The best thing to do if you spot an ingrown toenail is to visit Dr. Petrocelli at Collier Podiatry at your earliest opportunity, before infection sets in.
In the majority of cases, an ingrown toenail is a consequence of not trimming your toenails correctly. Cutting into the side of the nail to shape it can trigger an ingrown toenail, so you should only cut straight across the nail.
Cutting the nail too short can also increase your risk of developing an ingrown toenail, so don't cut any lower than the toe itself.
Other ways in which you might encourage ingrown toenails include wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes and having a fungal infection in your toenail.
You might assume that the best thing is to cut out the nail where it's digging into your skin with the nail clippers, but this is actually the worst thing you can do. Cutting the nail like this encourages it to regrow into your toe and become further embedded.
If you have an ingrown toenail, you should visit Dr. Petrocelli for a professional nail trimming. He can realign the toenail and use a chemical preparation to stop the nail from growing back into your toe.
If you have an infection in the ingrown toenail, you might need antibiotic treatment. Severe infections might require in-office removal of the affected part of the nail under local anesthetic.
If you've got an ingrown toenail or are worried about your feet, call Collier Podiatry today.