The edge of your toenail often has a tendency to grow into the soft tissue on the side of your toe, especially if you often wear tight fitting shoes like high heels. This condition can be extremely painful, and it’s very possible that it could lead to a serious infection. A leading cause of ingrown toenails is cutting the nails too short and rounded. It’s best to cut them straight across and a little on the long side. That will keep the edge of the nail above the skin so it can’t get in.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail are rather obvious and will include pain, redness, and swelling of the skin at the edge of the nail, extreme tenderness to touch or pressure, and a stinky, yellowish discharge that may be the sign of an infection.
An ingrown toenail will usually improve and even completely heal with the help of warm water foot soaks and foot elevation. But any signs of pus or redness accompanied by increasing pain should be brought to the attention of your foot doctor promptly to avoid possible spreading of the infection to the underlying tissue and bone. In severe ingrown toenail cases, your foot doctor may need to cut out the infected tissue away and trim the nail so it is no longer digging into the skin. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and the recovery period is very short.
Preventing ingrown toenails:
You can help prevent this condition by always cutting your toenails straight across, and not and not too short. Make sure your shoes fit properly and are not overly restrictive.
If the more conservative treatments are not providing relief, more extensive surgery may be necessary. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.