At Feet First Foot Care Specialists one of the conditions we see frequently in our Middlesex County patients is the ingrown toenail. Many people mistakenly ignore the first signs of pain associated with a nail that starts to grow down and back into the skin surrounding the nail. However, it quickly progresses to a condition that is incredibly painful. The toe becomes red, swollen, and very tender to the touch and makes wearing shoes and walking extremely difficult. Left untreated, an infection can also set in.
The most frequent reason ingrown toenails develop is improper nail care. Nails that are cut too short are more likely to grow into the skin. Rounding the edges with a nail file can also encourage ingrown nails.
At the first sign of a nail becoming ingrown, soak your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day. This will soften the skin and enable you to massage the skin and hopefully work the nail out. Usually, our podiatrist, Dr. Adam Mucinskas sees ingrown toenails when they have reached the excruciating stage and patients can’t stand it any longer. The foot doctor will gently numb the affected nail and remove the corner of the nail that is ingrown. For some patients, ingrown toenails are a recurring problem. In severe cases, the podiatrist may need to perform a procedure to prevent the nail from becoming ingrown.
It’s important not to attempt any “bathroom surgeries” on your own and try to cut out an ingrown toenail. This will often lead to an injury or infection. Beware that folk remedies such as sticking a piece of cotton between the nail and the toe or cutting a notch out of the toenail are also ineffective and harmful.