Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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Ingrown Nails

Ingrown nails are a common condition that affects children and adults. Ingrown nail occurs when the nail starts to grow into the skin. This causes pain, local redness and swelling to the area involved. It left untreated, the ingrown nail can become infected and very painful. This means that there may be drainage such as pus from the area. There can also be extra growth of red tissue on the side of the toe. Ingrown nails occur more often on the big toes.  They can occur on the inside or outside portion of the nail.

Causes of the ingrown nail include improper trimming of the nails. The nails should be trimmed straight across and filed. When the nails are cut down into the side, the ingrown nail can occur. However, for those who do have ingrown nails regularly, the cutting into the side may actually prevent the ingrown nail from occurring. This should only be done if advised or performed by a podiatrist since it is highly recommended to keep the nails trimmed straight across.  Other causes of ingrown nails are ripping the nails off. This is very common among children, they decide to rip their toenails after their bath when the nails are soft. This causes irregular ends and edges thus leading to ingrown nails. Another cause of ingrown nails is improper shoes. Tight shoes can cause pressure to the toenail leading to ingrown nails.

Treatment of the ingrown nail varies. If there is no infection, packing the side of the nail with cotton can help to decrease the pressure, decrease the pain and aide the nail to grow out.  Removing the ingrown nail can be performed. This may require the use of local anesthetic to numb the area so there is no pain during the short procedure.  If the nail is infected with bacteria, then antibiotics may be needed in addition to removing the ingrown nail.

There are procedures available to treat the ingrown nail so that the chances it will return are decreased. This involves using a local anesthetic to numb the area so there is no pain during the procedure.  A portion of the nail is removed, including under the cuticle. The area is then treated with a chemical to prevent the re-growth of the nail.  This procedure can be performed in the office.  It requires some extra care at home to the area and follow-up visits in the office.  Other procedures can be performed as needed.

It is best to see a podiatrist for the diagnosis and treatment of an ingrown nail.