Dec
28

Ingrown Toenail: An Unwanted Holiday Gift

After the presents are unwrapped and the leftovers all put away you may find yourself with a toe that’s in pain due to an ingrown nail. At Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle it’s not uncommon to see patients after the holidays with this condition. Why? One of the top causes of ingrown nails is shoes that squeeze the toes together. With extra holiday parties and other special events of the season people tend to spend more time than usual in uncomfortable dress shoes. These include: stiff shoes with tight toe boxes, high heels and pointy-toed shoes, all of which force the toes together for long periods of time. Other reasons for ingrown toenails are:

  • Improper nail trimming (nails should be cut straight across and not too short)
  • Fungal infection
  • Injury
  • Toe deformities
  • Inherited tendency

Signs and Symptoms

Since an ingrown nail is the result of your nail literally growing back into the skin surrounding your nail bed it causes a good deal of pain, especially once it penetrates the skin. The skin around the nail may become red and warm to the touch and extremely tender. Once the nail enters the skin bacteria may enter as well and an infection can develop. If you see pus or any drainage from the nail it is likely that an infection is the cause.

Treatment

If the nail has become infected, our podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh, will need to prescribe an antibiotic. In most cases an ingrown nail will not go away on its own. In some cases soaking the nail repeatedly and gently massaging the edge can release the nail. There is also a minor surgical procedure that the foot doctor can do in the office to remove the ingrown portion of the nail. Like most podiatric conditions, the longer you wait, the worse it will get. If you see signs of an ingrown nail, contact our Edmond or Norman office for an appointment as soon as possible.