Ingrown toenails curve and grow into the skin. This can create pain, redness and swelling in the toe. As long as no infection is apparent and you do not have a high risk medical condition (diabetes, nerve damage or poor circulation) ingrown toenails can initially be treated at home.
- Soak toe in room temperature water and gently massage the nail fold to relieve inflammation
- Wear properly fitting footwear
- Avoid activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes such as kicking or running
- Do not attempt “bathroom surgery” by clipping, gouging or picking at the nail or skin
If ingrown toenails fail to improve or become infected, it is time to seek treatment from a St. Louis podiatrist.
- Oral antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infection
- A minor surgical procedure can be performed in the office to remove the ingrown toenail – this involves applying a local anesthetic and removing the nail’s side border and possibly the nail root
- After care involves keeping the bandage clean and dry and completing any course of medication prescribed
Although ingrown toenail removal may seem daunting, with proper aftercare, some people resume normal activity within 24 hours and experience little to no post operative pain. As with any potentially painful ailment, prevention is always the best policy. There are a few simple things you can do to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Cut toenails in a straight line
- Leave enough length that you are able to get your fingernail under the end of the nail
- Avoid shoes that are too short, tight or loose in the toe area
- Most importantly, see a St. Louis foot doctor for regular foot care
Don’t wait until you have a problem. Your feet are one of the most important and overlooked parts of your body. Give them the attention they deserve and they will be happy feet!