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Understanding and Treating Ingrown Toenails

Understanding and Treating Ingrown ToenailsIngrown toenails, a condition that occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, can cause significant discomfort and pain. While relatively common, ingrown toenails should not be ignored, as they can lead to infections and ongoing discomfort. Our highly trained Podiatrists at the Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa understand the trouble ingrown toenails cause, and offer a variety of solutions to eliminate your pain.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails and Prevention:

While some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing ingrown toenails, many other causes can be easily prevented.

  • Improper Nail Trimming: Cutting the toenails too short or rounding the edges too steeply can encourage the nail to grow into the skin. One of the most effective prevention measures is to cut the nail straight across and avoid sharp corners or deeply rounding edges. Avoiding cutting toenails too short or too close to the skin is also an effective form of prevention.
  • Tight-Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that don’t provide enough space for the toes can exert pressure on the nails, leading to ingrown toenails. To prevent ingrown toenails, wear shoes that provide enough room for your toes to move freely and avoid excessively tight or narrow footwear. Some patients may need to purchase shoes with a larger toe box, or front part of the shoe.
  • Trauma: Injuries or repeated trauma to the toe can cause the nail to grow abnormally. Refrain from attempting to dig or squeeze the ingrown toenail, as this can worsen the condition and lead to infections, and immediately schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists at the Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa.
  • Deformities like bunions and hammertoes can also lead to increased pressure on the nail and result in an ingrown nail. Sometimes with these deformities you must trim the nail slightly differently to avoid pressure on the nail edge.

Signs and Symptoms:

Ingrown toenails present themselves in many different ways and may differ based on the severity of the condition. Pain and tenderness around the affected toe or redness and swelling are amongst the most common symptoms. However, some individuals may develop a small, tender, and sometimes pus-filled area around the ingrown toenail. This discomfort is often worsened by pressure or wearing shoes.

At-Home Remedies:

In mild cases, at-home remedies may temporarily alleviate symptoms. If believed to be an ingrown toenail, contact our team at the Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa for professional treatment. Prior to your appointment, our team of podiatrists recommend soaking the affected foot in warm water or epsom salt for approximately 5 minutes, several times a day. In addition to soaking, applying Bacitracin or other antibiotic ointments with a bandaid twice daily will aid in preventing or limiting  infection until your scheduled appointment.

Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa Treatment Options:

Ingrown toenails should not hold you back from living a pain free life, with proper and timely care, ingrown toenails can be treated. Treatment options differ, but can all be performed in our office. Using a local anesthetic, the nail may be partially or permanently removed to prevent future ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails can be a source of persistent discomfort and pain, but with proper care, they can often be prevented and managed effectively. By following appropriate nail care practices, wearing suitable footwear, and seeking treatment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa ingrown toenails will be an issue of the past.

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