An ingrown toenail is a distressing foot ailment, which generally heals on its own but sometimes needs help from an experienced podiatrist to address it. In medical terms, ingrown toenails are called ‘Onychocrytosis’. It is a condition, where the nail protruding from the sulcus side digs inside the skin. So, the area becomes vulnerable to bacteria causing toenail infection with moderate or severe pain. As the nail corners or edges grow inside the skin, the area becomes sore and tender.
Causes of ingrown toenails.
- Improper practice of trimming nails.
- Improper-sized shoes can cause crowding of toes
- A high heel can place pressure on the toenails while moving
- Repeated foot trauma from normal activities including dancers and athletes
- Stubbed toe due to dropping a heavy object
- Abnormal nail thickness
- Unusual nail plate shape or color like yellow
Many causes of ingrown nails can be treated effectively with home care. For example, you can learn to trim nails appropriately, or if it is due to improper footwear change it. However, if there are complications like skin infection, especially if you have diabetes then visit the podiatrist.
Yellow nail syndrome is an issue with the elderly over 50 years. Overuse of nail polish can discolor the toenails. If your use yellow, red, or orange toenail polish then the nails appear yellow. It is harmless but if you hardly use nail polish then it is time to take medical help. Dr. Sima Is the best Podiatrist in Irvine with more than 20 years of experience. The Irvine Podiatrist Clinic offers toenail laser treatment, bunion surgery, stem cell therapy, and much other foot care treatment.
Symptoms of ingrown toenails.
- Crushing pain even without moving
- Swelling & redness
- Bulging skin tissue
- Drainage or puss oozing
- Warmth around nails
There are many DIY home remedies but it is wise to seek medical care at the podiatrist’s clinic. Never approach the salon to have a pedicure if you suspect an infection. Untreated infection can cause grave health issues.
Some people feel relieved from pain due to ingrown nails post pedicure but remember there is a difference between a pedicure and a podiatrist. Podiatrists have formal training because they attended 4 years of medical school and 3 years of the residency program. This gave them a lot of in-depth knowledge about foot issues and how to care. While a pedicurist receives training from a 6 to 12 months course in nail care.
Podiatrist treatment for ingrown toenails.
Lifting the nail
If the ingrowing toenail is little then the podiatrist will carefully lift it from the edges, and place a dental floss or cotton or splint below it. It separates the toenail from the overlying skin and so the skin grows above the skin edge within 2 to 10 weeks. However, you will need to soak the toe and replace the material every day. A corticosteroid cream will be recommended to apply to the area.
The skin is pulled away from the ingrowing toenail with tape.
Removing nail partially
If there is skin inflammation and pus then this severe condition needs to remove nail partially. The toe is numbed and the nail growth on the edges is trimmed. It will take a couple of months for the toenail to grow.
Nail and tissue removal surgery
If the issue persists on the same toe then the podiatrist will suggest removing the nail portion and underlying tissue. The minor surgery prevents that nail part from growing. The toe is numbed and if you desire a non-invasive then choose ingrown toenail laser treatment.
Unlike invasive surgery, the laser removes the surrounding tissue and the ingrowing to the nail without any cuts, so there is no need for stitches. In electro-surgery, heat energy is used to destroy the unhealthy tissue around the ingrown nails. ‘Phenolisation’ is a chemical technique used to remove the nail plate partially, so that the new nail never grows abnormally.
In general, the surgical procedure is effective and safe. If the toenail is partially removed then the nail will grow back in 3 to 4 months. If the toenail is completely removed then the regrowth will take a year. However, the nail that grows back is thinner and there are also chances it may not regrow but the nail bed healing will be proper.
Ensure to take proper care of your nail, which is the best treatment!