While an ingrown toenail sounds fairly benign, this pesky problem can produce an incredible amount of pain and pose more serious problems if you have diabetes. At Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, Melissa L. Gulosh, DPM, and Joseph R. Disabato, DPM, take every foot problem seriously, and they have the tools necessary to remedy painful ingrown toenails. To learn more, call one of the two locations in Charlottesville or Culpeper, Virginia, or request an appointment using the online scheduling tool.
Ingrown Toenail Q & A
What are ingrown toenails?
As the name implies, an ingrown toenail occurs when either side of your toenail, usually on your big toe, grows into the flesh surrounding your nail, rather than up and over it. As the nail pushes into your flesh, the tissue can become inflamed, making even the slightest touch almost unbearable.
Aside from the pain, an ingrown toenail can lead to a more serious infection, which is of particular concern for patients with diabetes, neuropathy, or circulation issues.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails are very common and are largely caused by:
- Shoes that crowd your toes
- Cutting your toenails too short, especially at the sides
- Unusually curved toenails
- An injury to your toenail
Ingrown toenails can become a chronic, and painful, issue for many people as they develop time and again.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
When it comes to ingrown toenails, there are many steps your doctor at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates can take. For minor cases, they may place something under the edge of your nail to coax it to grow up and over your skin, rather than into it.
In some cases, your doctor may remove the portion of the nail that’s digging into your flesh. If you have chronic issues with ingrown toenails, they may also remove part of your nail bed so that you don’t grow any new nail in that area.
Rest assured that your doctor supplies you with a local anesthetic before removing your nail, and the procedure takes only minutes — as does the relief from the pain.
If you have circulatory problems in your lower extremities due to diabetes or another condition, your doctor’s main goal is to avoid an open wound and infection, which will dictate your treatment plan.
Can ingrown toenails be prevented?
The care you provide at home can go a long way toward preventing ingrown toenails in the first place. This should include:
- Trimming your nails straight across
- Avoiding trimming your nails too short (make them even with the tips of your toes, if possible)
- Wearing shoes with plenty of room for your toes
If you’re diabetic, these at-home tips are especially important, as are daily checks of your feet to spot the first signs of an ingrown toenail.
To get relief from ingrown toenails, call Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates or use the online booking tool.