Ingrown Toenails – Treatment and Prevention

“Ingrown Toenails” are medically referred to as Onychocryptosis and are a common condition that most often affects the large toe (Hallux). However, this painful condition of the toe nail can also occur on any of the other toenails. If you are suffering from pain and inflammation from an ingrown toenail, you may need a minor procedure to treat the affected toe. Contact Bellevue Podiatry and speak to one of our caring doctors for ingrown nail treatment.

What is an Ingrown Toenail?nail clippers

When the edge of the toenail breaks through the skin surrounding it, pain and inflammation occur. Generally, the initial symptom is minor discomfort that can lead to an infection. Redness, pain and swelling around the nail edge are signs that your toenail has grown into the skin and has become infected. Sometimes, there will be a clear/yellowish drainage associated with this common foot condition.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Toenails can become ingrown and painful for a variety of different reasons. The most common are outlined below:

  • Wearing Shoes that do not fit properly and crowd/put pressure on your toes
  • Naturally Curved Toenails
  • Improper Nail Trimming/Cutting
  • Toe Injury

Preventing Ingrown Toenails

There are many precautionary steps you can take in order to prevent painful ingrown toenails. Ensure that the toebox, or front part of your shoe, has enough space to avoid undue pressure and cramping of your toes. When trimming your nails, take care to cut the nails in a gently rounded shape, making sure to avoid digging in too deeply around the edges.

If you think you are developing an ingrown nail, try soaking the toe in warm water two to three times a day. Epsom salts can also be added to the water to further draw out any fluid. Afterwards, apply a topical antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin or Neosporin in order to prevent infection.

When Should I see A Podiatrist?

If you experience and suffer from chronic ingrown toenails, it is advisable to see a Bellevue podiatrist. You should also see a doctor if you are experiencing severe discomfort, pus or redness that seems to be spreading, or if you have diabetes. A podiatrist can often times alleviate the pain with a minor in-office procedure.

Chronic sufferers can receive a procedure that prevents the nail from growing by killing the edge of the growth center, or “matrix” of the nail once the nail portion has been removed. This process is called “matrixectomy” and permanently fixes the issue, while allowing the remaining part of the toe nail to grow in normally.

Speak to the foot experts at Bellevue Podiatry and get evaluated by one of our podiatrists. New patients can contact us through our contact form, or call us directly at (425) 689-5428.