If your big toe swells or feels sore, you may have an ingrown toenail. With this condition, skin grows over the edge of the nail, causing pain, infection, and swelling. Read on for more information from Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists regarding this common condition and how it can be treated – or better yet – prevented.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Prevention begins with wearing shoes that fit properly. To ensure a correct fit, the toe of the shoe should provide adequate room so that your toes aren’t overcrowded, which is a common cause of ingrown toenails. When you stand up there should be at least a half inch of space between the tip of the shoe and your longest toe.
We also recommend that patients cut their toenails straight across with clean toenail clippers. Keep feet dry and clean and guard against injury by wearing shoes when necessary.
Seeking Medical Help For An Ingrown Toenail
Left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected and worsen, leading to significant swelling and pain. It can also lead to serious complications, including gangrene and/or a bone infection.
Your ingrown toenail needs professional help from a podiatrist when:
- It doesn’t show signs of improvement after two to three days of at-home treatments;
- The pain becomes substantially worse;
- Redness extends away from the toe;
- Pus begins to form;
- You have neuropathy in your feet from a different condition.
Treatment From Your Podiatrist for Ingrown Toenails
The treatment method your podiatrist chooses is dependent on the severity of the condition, how often they occur, and the reason they develop.
For mild cases, the nail is lifted by placing a wedge of cotton beneath it. This raises the nail above the skin, thereby eliminating the ingrown nail and permitting the skin to heal. Part of the toenail may also have to be removed.
In repeated cases, the side of the nail may need to be removed, including its root. A special medication is applied that destroys the nail root, preventing regrowth and averting future ingrown toenails.
While ingrown toenails may just seem like an annoyance, when left untreated, they can lead to serious medical issues. Don’t let that happen – contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.