Ingrown toenails aren’t just painful. They’re also vulnerable to complications like infection. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, provide targeted treatments for ingrown toenails. Nails that grow into your skin can worsen substantially without early intervention. To learn more about ingrown toenails, call North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists now.
What are ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail begins growing into the surrounding skin. Not only is the condition painful, but it’s also a potential risk to your health. Ingrown toenails can penetrate the skin, leaving behind small breaks for bacteria to permeate. Without treatment, ingrown toenails can lead to extreme pain and infection.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
Often, you can see an ingrown toenail growing into the surrounding skin. Other common symptoms of ingrown toenails include:
- A foul odor
As the nail continues growing into the skin, an ingrown toenail becomes more difficult to treat. In adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, they can even be dangerous. Early intervention at the first warning sign of an ingrown toenail can help prevent diabetic foot ulcers, open wounds, and bone infections.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Many individuals have a predisposition to ingrown toenails due to genetics. If your parents or siblings frequently experience ingrown toenails, you’re more likely to have them. Additional causes of ingrown toenails include:
Rounded toenails are more likely to dig into the skin than squared nails. You should always cut your toenails straight across and make sure not to trim them too short.
Trauma to the toe can cause the nail to dig into the surrounding skin. This is especially prevalent in the big toe. Accidents, sports injuries, or simply stubbing your toe can lead to trauma that causes ingrown toenails.
Fungal infections can distort the shape and texture of your toenail, which may cause it to grow into your skin.
Wearing shoes or socks that are too tight and narrow is a common cause of ingrown toenails.
What are the treatments for ingrown toenails?
If your ingrown toenail hasn’t broken the skin or caused an infection, home treatment may be effective. You can soak your toe in a warm bath with epsom salt and gently pull the skin away from the edge of the nail to relieve your pain.
Worsening symptoms are a clear sign that you need professional care for your ingrown toenail. After examining your affected toe, your podiatrist at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists can determine the appropriate treatment.
If possible, your specialist can perform a minor procedure to partially remove the nail. They may apply a topical solution to prevent infection. In more severe cases, your podiatrist may remove the entire nail.
To schedule an appointment with North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists, call today.