You may have noticed after a long run or a night dancing in tight shoes that your big toenail hurts. It might be pushing into the skin around it, and any pressure on it makes you cringe. If you have painful toenails that are red and irritated, it can be more than a minor annoyance; it can lead to a number of problems including infection. You might be wondering how to get rid of ingrown toenails.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
Your nails are considered to be ingrown when they grow into the soft fleshy part around the nail instead of outward. They occur most frequently on your big toes. We sometimes trim our nails too short or round off the corners. This encourages the nail to grow into the skin instead of over it. Another reason is due to the shoes we wear. If your footwear is too tight or too narrow and doesn’t allow your toes to breathe, you might end up with an ingrown nail. Trauma or injury is another factor that contributes to this condition. If you stub or jam your foot it can cause a problem with the way your nails grow. Sometimes the problem is due to your genetics, for instance, if you have very large nails.
One of the most telltale symptoms of this problem is pain. The nail is basically slicing into your skin, which can create a lot of discomfort. Your toe might also feel tender, swollen, or even hard. If you continue to let the toenail curl under, it can lead to more serious problems. If it pierces the skin, the open sore on your foot could allow germs and infection into your body. If you notice that your pain and redness is worse, or if there is pus present, contact your doctor immediately.
If you catch it early enough, many times home treatment is all that is needed. Warm water soaks several times a day should soften the skin so that the nail can be eased in the right direction. Wear comfortable shoes that allow lots of room for your toes to move. If necessary, wear sandals or other open-toed shoes until the problem subsides. If you think the area might be infected, it is time to call your doctor to discuss more extreme treatment methods. Surgery may be necessary to remove part of the nail in severe or recurring cases. There is a substantial healing period after toenail surgery, so this is only used in circumstances where nothing else has worked.
When to Get Medical Attention
If you are suffering extreme discomfort from an ingrown toenail, or you believe that the area might be infected, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, right away at 888-616-2512 to schedule an appointment. We will take the time to answer your questions and discuss treatment options with you, as well as prescribe medication or perform surgery if necessary. We know how painful toenails can interrupt your activities, and how unnecessary it is to suffer any longer. Call today and set up a visit at one of three easily accessible Massachusetts offices.