Do you ever look at your toes? They really are funny looking digits, but an ingrown toenail is no laughing matter. An ingrowing nail often makes itself known on the affected toe with a feeling of slight irritation. Left untreated that ingrowing toenail graduates to an ingrown toenail, with honors! At this point you know for certain that you are in pain and if you are like most people you will diagnose yourself based on your internet searches. The newly minted doctor that you are you will then try to repair the damage yourself. Then you will go see a podiatrist (an actual medical doctor) because this is what you should have done in the first place once you felt your nail growing inward.
However, sometimes it is not as straightforward as a toenail simply growing into the toe. A whole host of problems are associated with ingrown toenails. The nail can be affected by paronychia, a fungal infection typically occurring between the nail and the toe. For this, you will need to see a podiatrist immediately in order to treat it with a fungicide. Ingrown toenails can cause infection and severe inflammation which make walking virtually impossible, in this caseCellulitis may be a factor. Cellulitis is another condition that needs to be addressed immediately as it can be life-threatening. OK, so chances are you are not suffering from such dramatic conditions as mentioned above (but do get checked, please!).
The key to avoiding these conditions is simply good foot care. The best preventative care includes a daily examination of your feet for any indications of fungal infections. Any scratches or abrasions you find should be treated with a topical antibiotic and then monitored. Clean between your toes and nails, ensure you clip those nails and then file them. It might sound like drudgery but you are the first line of defense when it comes to your overall health. Keeping your feet clean and giving them a relaxing soak from time to time are relatively simple, conservative treatments that can work wonders.
Should you feel that you need professional care then contact a podiatrist for medical attention. Oftentimes you podiatrist can prescribe oral antibiotics to treat any infection in its early stages but they may also find cause for concern, which is good news for you; it means you are being cared for by a professional.
For more serious ingrown toenail problems surgical treatment may be necessary. The standard procedures are matrixectomy and nail avulsion. A matrixectomy is simply the removal of the portion of the ingrown nail that is causing the problem. This is a long-term solution that generally prevents recurrence to the affected digit. Nail avulsion, on the other hand, is the complete removal of the nail plate, the hard part of your nail; this is only recommended if the symptoms have resisted other treatments.
If you have any concerns and live in the greater Los Angeles area, contact Dr. Benjamin Tehrani at Kings Point Foot & Ankle. Dr. Tehrani is L.A.’s top-ranked podiatrist and has the expertise you need to maintain foot and overall health.