Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown Toenails

We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.

This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.

Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

request an appointment

What causes ingrown toenails?

Your nail can become ingrown and start digging into surrounding skin for a number of reasons. Usually, the primary cause is poor trimming and pedicure habits.

For instance, if you cut your toenails too short, round out the edges, or tear your toenails, as they grow, they may start burrowing into your nail bed.

You can even struggle with ingrown toenail issues because of toe trauma — like stubbing your toe — or not wearing socks with shoes. It’s also common to develop ingrown toenails on an ongoing basis if you have overly curved nails, which are often inherited. These are known as “pincer” nails.

When should I get treatment for an ingrown toenail?

No matter what’s causing your ingrown toenail, it’s important to have it treated by Dr. Butts at Performance Footcare of New York, PC.

Because your feet and toes are prone to infection because of decreased blood flow — they are the furthest points from your heart, after all — an ingrown toenail is something you should never try to treat on your own.

Dr. Butts encourages you to come in for an exam at the first sign of an ingrown toenail, especially if you experience:

  • Oozing
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Inflammation
  • Warmth to the touch

It’s also important to visit Performance Footcare of New York, PC, if you have an ingrown toenail and you have diabetes. Your risk of serious infection, and potentially amputation, is increased in this case.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Treating an ingrown toenail involves a holistic approach, which depends on the complexity of your condition and whether or not you have an infection.

In early stages, Dr. Butts may recommend placing a splint underneath your nail. He teaches you how to change it regularly to encourage your toenail to grow away from your skin.

For more invasive ingrown toenails, you might need surgery, which is a short in-office procedure. Ingrown toenail surgery from Performance Footcare of New York, PC, begins with ensuring you’re entirely comfortable by numbing your toe. Dr. Butts gently trims away the ingrown part of your nail and treats the infection with a topical antimicrobial solution.

It’s less common, but in some cases, removing the entire toenail is essential, especially if you have a severe infection or continue getting ingrown toenails. Dr. Butts can even stop future growth of your nail with a chemical or laser treatment so that the ingrown toenail stops coming back.

You can conveniently schedule your ingrown toenail evaluation at Performance Footcare of New York, PC, online or you can call the office today.