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Ingrown Toenail

Pain from an ingrown toenail can disrupt your day and make it hard to concentrate on anything else. Ingrown toenails are a common condition, but they can cause additional complications if left untreated. The doctors at Independence Foot and Ankle Associates, LLC in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Feasterville, and Perkasie, Pennsylvania, offer effective solutions to remove the affected nail and alleviate your pain. For help treating an ingrown toenail, contact the office by phone to schedule an appointment or book online today.

Ingrown Toenail Q&A

What causes an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of your toenail grows into the nearby skin. Several factors can cause an ingrown toenail. Improperly trimming your toenails is the most common reason why nails grow into the skin. Other causes of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Toenail injuries
  • Toe or foot deformities
  • Thickened nails

How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed?

Redness and swelling around the nail may be the first sign of an ingrown nail. Pressure on the area may produce discomfort or pain. Additional pain and swelling may appear if the nail becomes infected. An infected nail may also have pus.

Your doctor performs a physical exam on your toe to see if an ingrown toenail is the problem. He also reviews your symptoms to rule out other medical issues.

If you have diabetes, suffer from nerve damage in your foot, or develop a fever, seek medical treatment immediately. Untreated infections and other medical conditions can lead to additional complications.

What happens during treatment for an ingrown toenail?

Your doctor may opt to remove part of your toenail to relieve pain. If he discovers the toenail is infected, he may prescribe antibiotics to reduce inflammation before removing the nail.

During the procedure, your doctor applies a numbing agent before removing the ingrown nail. Once he removes the nail, you should feel immediate relief. It may take several days for swelling to go down and a few months for a new nail to grow.

If the same toe continues to have trouble with an ingrown nail, your doctor may recommend removing the whole nail and part of the underlying tissue to prevent regrowth. He may remove the nail using a laser, chemical treatment, or surgery.

How do I prevent ingrown toenails?

After the nail removal, your doctor offers nail-care guidance to prevent additional ingrown toenails. Prevention tips include:

  • Soaking nails before trimming
  • Using proper trimming techniques
  • Having adequate trimming equipment
  • Wearing properly-sized shoes

People with circulatory issues or diabetes should have routine foot exams to ensure adequate nail care.