If you’ve ever had one, you know that ingrown toenails can be extremely painful and impair your ability to perform daily activities.
Unfortunately, many people do not seek help for their ingrown toenails until the pain becomes severe or an infection develops. They may mistakenly believe their ingrown toenails “aren’t a big deal,” or that treatment will be frightening or painful.
The truth, however, is that ingrown toenails can be treated very successfully by a podiatrist in a single short appointment, with minimal discomfort. Most people can return to their regular activities within a day. This includes patients as young as 1 or 2 years old, as well as those well into their senior years.
What Is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when part of the side, border, or corner of the nail grows into the soft skin of the toe. When this happens, you can typically expect symptoms to include pain or tenderness, redness, and localized swelling.
As an ingrown toenail gets worse, it may become painful simply to put on your socks and shoes. Severe ingrown toenails can become infected, which is extremely risky for anyone with diabetes, neuropathy, or poor blood flow to the feet.
What Are the Main Causes of Ingrown Toenails?
Ingrown toenails have many potential causes, which may include:
- A genetic predisposition for the condition
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Accidental injuries
- Cutting your toenails too short or trimming the corners in too far
When Should You See a Doctor?
You should see one of the doctors at Fixing Feet Institute about your ingrown toenail if any of the following statements are true:
- You have diabetes, peripheral artery disease, neuropathy, or any other condition that could compromise blood flow, immune function, or nerve health in the feet. The risk of developing a severe bone infection is simply too great to take chances with these conditions.
- Your pain is severe (i.e., impacting your day-to-day life) or you notice any signs of infection, such as red streaks or pus under the nail.
- Your pain does not improve after a few days of regularly soaking your feet and wearing open-toed shoes.
- You develop ingrown toenails on a regular basis.
- You simply want a faster, easier, safer way to get rid of your pain.
Never try to dig out, trim back, or lift your ingrown toenail on your own. These “solutions” usually do more harm than good when not performed in a sterile environment by a professional.
What Treatments Are Available at Fixing Feet Institute?
Our doctors have a few different options we may recommend to help you.
The first and simplest option is for us to simply trim back your nail to eliminate the obstruction. This procedure is quick and easy, and does not hurt. We will use a little local anesthetic on the toe to ensure that you are comfortable.
However, if your ingrown toenail continues to return regularly, the best solution is a permanent removal of the nail border.
Again, this is a relatively simple in-office procedure that is performed under local anesthesia, so you should not feel any significant discomfort. The ingrown edge of the toenail will be removed, and the corresponding portion of the underlying nail bed will be rendered incapable of forming new nail tissue.
Since the excessively curved border/edge of the nail cannot grow back, the odds that you will develop any further ingrown toenails will be reduced to almost zero.
Whether you opt for a simple trim or the permanent procedure, you can expect to be able to go home very soon afterward and return to normal activities like work and school by the next day, if not right away.
Find Quick Relief for Your Ingrown Toenail
It is natural to be worried about seeing a doctor for an ingrown toenail, especially if you’ve never done so before. However, we do everything in our power to make the experience as painless and comfortable as possible.
If you are currently dealing with a painful ingrown toenail, the best way to find quick and lasting relief is by making an appointment with Fixing Feet Institute. You can reach our office in Surprise, AZ by giving us a call at (623) 584-5556. You can also complete our contact form to have a member of our office reach out to you to schedule.