An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a nail breaks through the skin around it and begins to grow into the tissue. This is a common problem, but it can become serious if left untreated. It most often affects the big toe, although other toes can be affected as well.
If you have an ingrown toenail, it may go away on its own, but it’s always best to see a podiatrist for an evaluation. In this blog, Kerry E. Berg, DPM, of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, explains more about the signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails usually happen as a result of poor trimming techniques. Trimming your nails too short or trying to round them at the edges is a common culprit. Other causes of ingrown toenails include wearing tight shoes or experiencing trauma, such as dropping something heavy on your foot.
However, some people are more prone to getting ingrown toenails than others, including people with diabetes and circulatory issues. Once you get an ingrown toenail, the chances may increase that it will happen again.
The first and most obvious symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain. It’s not unusual for people to describe it as a constant, throbbing type of pain. However, other symptoms can also occur, including the following:
In some cases, an ingrown toenail can become infected, which can become a serious problem. Signs of infection include pus accumulation and pain that continues to get worse.
You generally shouldn’t treat ingrown toenails yourself, because you could end up making the problem worse, which could lead to an infection.
To treat ingrown toenails, Dr. Berg typically performs a minor procedure in the office. First, Dr. Berg numbs your toe. Then she gently removes the part of your nail that has become ingrown. She also applies a chemical to the area of the ingrown nail to make it less likely for it to happen again.
If you have repeated ingrown toenails, it may be due to an abnormal nail shape. In this case, she might remove the entire toenail. However, this is not necessary in the majority of cases of ingrown toenails.
After your procedure, you should be able to return to your normal activities shortly thereafter. Dr. Berg will give you tips about how to care for your toe during the healing process.
If you have an ingrown toenail, Dr. Berg can give your toe a thorough evaluation and perform any treatments necessary. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.