Ingrown Toenails - Definition and Treatment

Ingrown Toe Nails

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

Ingrown Toenails - Definition and TreatmentIngrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are another common foot problem. It is an often painful condition in which the nail grows so that it cuts into the sides of the paronychium or nail bed. It is not typically a serious problem, but it can be if you have diabetes which impairs your healing process.

Ingrown toe nails can be the result of trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes. When the sharp edge of the nail is left under the fold of skin next to it, the chances of getting a painful ingrown nail skyrockets.  Also, wearing shoes that are too tight and/or too short may contribute to an ingrown toenail. Trauma to the nail plate can also cause your toe nail to grow irregularly and it could end up ingrown.

Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen and tender, and later, may become sore, red and infected. Your skin may even start to grow over the ingrown toenail. It’s not pretty as you can see by the picture!

Soaking your foot in warm, soapy water or epsom salts several times a day is usually a good way to treat an ingrown nail.  I rarely will prescribe antibiotics. I may also need to remove part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail plate avulsion) if an acute infection occurs. The procedure involves numbing the toe with an anesthetic and removing the ingrown part of the toenail. I don’t use scalpels or stitches.  Its a lot simpler and gentler than it sounds.  Gel toe caps may be helpful in easing the pain of the ingrown nail.

You can help prevent ingrown toenails by:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across with no corners left in the nail fold.
  • No bathroom surgery or archaeological excavations on the side of the nail!
  • Ensuring that your shoes and socks are not too tight.
  • Keeping your feet clean at all times.

If you suspect you are suffering from an ingrown toe nail or are looking for a podiatrist in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday right away for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in his Bradenton Podiatry office or Sarasota Podiatry office.