While there are foot conditions worse than an ingrown toenail, few things are as persistent, sore and bothersome. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that about three million Americans currently suffer with ingrown toenails, typically on the big toe. What can you do about yours? is it something you can treat yourself? Learn about ingrown toenails from the expert foot doctors at Cascade Foot Center in Salem, OR.
How it happens
Typically, an ingrown toenail, accompanied by soreness, redness, swelling and even pus, happens when the outside edge of the big toenail grows into the skin. Pressure from tight shoes, repetitive motion (runners are particularly prone), heredity, and yes, trimming your nails incorrectly contribute to this podiatric condition.
At Cascade Foot Center, Dr. James Lisle, Dr. Trevor Tippets, and Dr. Lee Poston see many people of all ages with ingrown toenails. Fortunately, these patients have recognized that they need help in treating their toenails correctly and allow their Salem, OR, foot doctor to formulate the treatment plans right for them.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
Mild cases of ingrown toenails may be cared for at home with twice daily warm soaks, over-the-counter antibiotic cream or ointment and a change of footwear to shoes which don't pressure the tops of the big toes. However, if your toe shows signs of infection (severe pain, pus, swelling), come to the office.
Your foot doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic. Also, they may recommend in-office toenail clipping or in more severe cases, a partial nail plate avulsion which removes the entire side of the affected nail.
Preventing ingrown toenails
The strategies are simple:
- Wash and dry your feet daily, and wear clean socks.
- Change shoes to ones with adequate room in the toe boxes.
- Trim all your toenails straight across with clean clippers.
- Avoid going barefoot outdoors because of possible trauma to the foot. Injury can lead to ingrown toenails.
Also, here's a word to the wise: avoid what podiatrists call "bathroom surgery" on an ingrown nail. If your nail has penetrated the flesh, contact Cascade Foot Center for an appointment. Diabetics in particular, who are prone to infection and slow wound healing, need expert medical attention for this and other podiatric conditions.
At Cascade Foot Center, your podiatrists want your feet and ankles to look, feel and function at their very best. Healthy feet are their priority! Call us at (503) 588-8188 for an appointment.