You feel it with every step and slight movement of your foot – the stabbing pain of your hard toenail digging into the soft skin of your toe. You have an ingrown toenail.
Over their lifetime, most people will feel the pain of an ingrown toenail – a journal archived by the National Center of Biotechnology Information found that 20 out of every 100 people who visit the doctor for foot issues due so for ingrown toenails.
Need to have an ingrown toenail fixed? Jersey Foot & Ankle Institute can help. Dr. Ankur Dharia and the rest of our team here in Hillsborough Township will work with you to make sure your toe is treated and able to fully heal. As a foot and ankle expert, Dr. Dharia can treat more than just feet. From toes to ankles to Achilles tendons, we’re your one-stop shop.
Although an ingrown toenail is almost always painful, it can vary in severity. Many home remedies will work to help you fix the ingrown nail before it becomes severe. Use the below as a guide for when you need to head to Jersey Foot & Ankle Institute for a podiatry appointment.
What causes ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail begins to embed in the soft skin of the toe. Although possible in any of your toes, the vast majority of ingrown nails occur in the big toe. The most common causes of an ingrown toenail include the following:
- Trimming your nails too short
- Wearing shoes that are too tight and cram your toes together
- Playing sports that involve sudden, repeated stopping, such as tennis or basketball
- Suffering trauma to your toe, including stubbing
- Overly curved toenails, which are often genetically passed down
Ingrown toenail basics
While painful, ingrown toenails are not a problem on their own. You may be able to trim the toenail to prevent it from growing deeper into your toe. You can try soaking your foot in warm water to make the skin and nail softer – this may make it easier to trim the ingrown nail.
The key is catching the nail as soon as it starts bothering you. The injury will only get worse the longer you ignore it.
When it’s time to see the podiatrist
The main concerns with ingrown toenails are pain and the risk of infection. If the toenail has just started to cause pain, Dr. Dharia will likely lift the toenail and secure it so that it can grow out properly. This will fix any pain as the toenail will no longer have any contact with the impacted skin.
If skin has grown over part of the toenail or if the toe appears to be infected, you’ll need immediate medical care. When this occurs, it’s important to take care of both the infected area as well as the rest of the toe. In situations such as these, Dr. Dharia will most likely have to remove the infected and inflamed skin, a portion of the nail, or both.
Some people experience repeated ingrown toenails that are no fault of their own. In cases such as these, Dr. Dharia will likely look to remove the nail bed itself, tackling the problem at its source.
Don’t let an ingrown toenail put you through weeks of pain. Dr. Dharia and our team at Jersey Foot & Ankle Institute will make sure your toe is feeling back to normal in no time. Call or request an appointment at our Hillsborough, New Jersey, office today.