Did you ever come home after wearing a pair of tight shoes all day and find a red, irritated, painful spot at the edge of your toenail? Ingrown toenails are one of life’s little annoyances. They are not usually a major ordeal, but they can cause pain, irritation, and sometimes even infection. It is important to practice good daily foot care to avoid the frustration caused by this foot condition.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
A toenail is considered “ingrown” when the nail grows into the flesh surrounding the nail bed. It is a very common problem that is fairly simple to treat on your own at home. Typical symptoms include pain or tenderness along the nail, redness near the nail, and swelling of the top of the toe. If you notice additional symptoms such as pus draining or redness and swelling of more than just the tip of your toe you might have an infection. Come in to Coastal Podiatry, LLC, right away if that is the case.
Ingrown toenails have number of different causes. It may be that you are wearing shoes that crowd your toes so your nails can’t grow properly. Maybe you have sustained an injury to your nail. One of the most common reasons for a nail to grow into your skin is because you cut it incorrectly.
Ingrown Toenail Prevention and Foot Care
It is very important to take care of your feet daily to keep them from harm. This becomes even more important if you have diabetes. Always trim your toenails straight across and then file the rough edges to smooth them. Never cut them in a curved fashion. Wear shoes that fit your feet properly, and if you engage in physical activity or sports make sure they are protective as well. If you have diabetes make sure you are checking your feet every day for any foot conditions that need treatment. If you have an ingrown toenail you are at a higher risk of developing an infection, which can be very dangerous for a diabetic.
Ingrown Toenail Treatment
Treating a troublesome nail can usually be done at home. You can soak your feet in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes, and then gently pull back the skin from the nail and use a piece of dental floss as a cushion between nail and skin. You may need to do this several times before you begin to notice a difference. Always apply antibacterial ointment after this procedure to avoid infection. If this home remedy does not work you may need to see a doctor to avoid further complications. A doctor can lift the nail, remove the nail (partially or completely), and prescribe antibiotics for a nail that has become infected.
When a Podiatrist Is Needed
If you have an ingrown toenail that just will not heal or becomes infected, you should call Dr. Rahn Ravenell and Dr. Tamika Ravenell at to schedule an appointment at Coastal Podiatry, LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC. We can get your toenails in top shape again. Keeping your feet healthy is what we do.