Ingrown Toenail

Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Specialists located in Southeast Georgia and South Carolina

More than 40 million American adults have suffered from an ingrown toenail at some point in their lives. This condition often seems fairly minor in the beginning, but if left unchecked, an ingrown toenail can get infected and cause some serious discomfort. At Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, with 12 locations throughout Southern Georgia and South Carolina, you can get the treatment you need from a team with 40-plus years of foot care experience. Call the location nearest you or request an appointment online today.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

The American Podiatric Medical Association calls ingrown toenail the most common nail impairment today. If you have an ingrown toenail, your nail edges grow into your flesh. It often affects just one side of your toe, but can happen on both sides as well. An ingrown toenail causes redness, swelling, and pain in the affected corner of your toe. The more the nail grows beneath your skin, the worse your symptoms can get.

Ingrown toenails can become infected, which can cause further toe swelling, warm or hot skin, pus discharge, and a foul odor as well. Usually, ingrown toenails affect just the big toe, but if you develop an infection, it could spread into your foot tissue and even into your bones. 

Why do I keep getting ingrown toenails? 

There are several common causes of ingrown toenails, including: 

  • Trimming your nails too closely
  • Trimming your nails in a curve 
  • Wearing shoes that are too small
  • Wearing shoes that compress your toes, like high heels

Trauma, like stubbing your toe, could also cause an ingrown toenail. If you get ingrown toenails repeatedly, the odds are that you’re cutting your nails improperly or wearing the wrong footwear. 

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Ingrown toenail treatment depends on your symptoms and whether you’re dealing with any complications. You might need to wear a special splint (a gutter splint) that holds the nail up, slightly above your skin, to prevent it from growing back in the same position. If you also have an infection, you’ll likely need antibiotics to clear the infection and prevent its spread. 

Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, can restore your nail’s healthy growth pattern by trimming the nail and removing the part of the nail that’s growing under your skin in what’s called a slant back procedure.

If your ingrown toenail keeps coming back, you might need a matrixectomy. This procedure removes a part of your nail, including the nail root. Then, a special solution is applied to the nail root to prevent regrowth. A matrixectomy can narrow the toenail, but it doesn’t remove your nail completely.

No matter what, remember that trying to remove your own ingrown toenail is a bad idea. Bathroom surgery has an extremely high risk of infection, and it’s often quite painful since you don’t have the advantage of local anesthesia that’s provided by your podiatrist.

The team at Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, can end your ingrown toenail problems now, so reach out to the office nearest you or use the online booking tool today.