Ingrown toenail treatment is one of the common specialties at the Gentle Foot Care Clinic. Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, is usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes. They may also be caused by shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. A common ailment, ingrown toenails are painful for our Brandon and Zephyrhills patients. Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.
In most cases, treating ingrown toenails is simple: soak the foot in warm, soapy water several times each day. Avoid wearing tight shoes or socks. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Note: Please ask Dr. Manohar before taking any medications. In severe cases, if an acute infection occurs, surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail may be needed. Known as partial nail plate avulsion, the procedure involves injecting the toe with an anesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.
Surgical Ingrown Toenail Treatment
If excessive inflammation, swelling, pain and discharge are present, the toenail is probably infected and you should schedule a visit immediately at the Gentle Foot Care Clinic. You may need to take oral antibiotics and the nail may need to be partially or completely removed (see middle image below). Dr. Manohar can surgically remove a portion of the nail, a portion of the underlying nail bed, some of the adjacent soft tissues and even a part of the growth center.
Surgery is effective in eliminating the nail edge from growing inward and cutting into the fleshy folds as the toenail grows forward. Permanent removal of the nail may be advised for children with chronic, recurrent infected ingrown toenails.
If you are in a lot of pain and/or the infection keeps coming back, Dr. Manohar may remove part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail avulsion). Your toe is injected with an anesthetic and Dr. Manohar uses scissors to cut away the ingrown part of the toenail, taking care not to disturb the nail bed. An exposed nail bed may be very painful. Removing your whole ingrown toenail (complete nail plate avulsion) increases the likelihood your toenail will come back deformed. It may take 3-4 months for your nail to regrow.
How to prevent Ingrown toenails:
- Trimming toenails straight across with no rounded corners.
- Ensuring that shoes and socks are not too tight.
- Keeping feet clean at all times.