Are you worried that one of your toenails may be growing into your skin? Our Woodbridge, VA, podiatrist, Dr. Gerard Ranieri of Lake Ridge Podiatry, discusses ingrown toenails and explains what you can do to relieve your pain.
What causes ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a nail begins to penetrate the surrounding skin. The condition may be more likely to occur if you round your nails instead of cutting them straight across, wear tight-fitting shoes that press your nail into your skin, or have a fungal infection. In some cases, ingrown toenails are very hard to avoid. If your toenails naturally curve downward, ingrown toenails can become a chronic problem. Although the condition can affect any toe, it most commonly occurs in the big toe.
What can I do to treat ingrown toenails at home?
It may be possible to remove the trapped edge of your nail from the skin if you've just noticed a problem with your toe. Soak your foot in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently lift the edge of the nail with dental floss or a piece of cotton. Keep the cotton or floss in place during the day, and replace it after your daily foot soak. Don't force the nail when you try to free it. If it won't move easily, make an appointment with our Woodbridge office.
Home treatment shouldn't be attempted if you notice any signs of infections such as redness, red streaks, pus or warmth. If you have diabetes, it's important to visit a foot doctor when you first notice your ingrown toenail symptoms. Because diabetes interferes with healing, even seemingly minor foot problems and wounds can quickly become infected.
How do podiatrists treat ingrown toenails?
If your toenail won't budge, or you notice signs of infection, you'll need to schedule an appointment with the foot doctor. During a minor, in-office procedure, your podiatrist will make a small cut in your skin to free the nail. You'll receive local anesthetic to ensure that the procedure is pain-free, and may need to take antibiotics if you have an infection. If you experience ingrown toenails often, surgery to remove all or part of your nail may be recommended.
A visit to the foot doctor can help ease your ingrown toenail pain. Call Woodbridge, VA, podiatrist, Dr. Ranieri of Lake Ridge Podiatry, at (703) 491-2603 to schedule an appointment.