Ingrown toenails can cause pain and infection. In his Southaven office, Dr. Brian Shwer treats what podiatrists call onychocryptosis, relieving symptoms and helping people move again. How can you prevent ingrown toenails? How can Dr. Shwer and his team help if you do develop one? Read on to learn more.
The anatomy of an ingrown toenail
An ingrown happens when the corner of a toenail, usually on the big toe, grows into the skin surrounding the nail. Infection, pain, redness, and swelling result, and sufferers find it hard to walk and go about their daily activities comfortably. Commonly, the nail becomes ingrown when it has been trimmed too short at the corners and when improper footwear places excessive friction against the nail.
Heredity factors in on ingrown toenails. Certain kinds of toe structures run in families, and their members develop ingrown toenails more readily. In addition, trauma to the foot, such as dropping something heavy on your toe, may lead to an ingrown toenail.
Treating an ingrown toenail
Mild cases respond well to warm soaks (several times a day). Patients should wear shoes with plenty of room in the toes and ensure their socks fit properly (not too loose or too tight).
If, however, signs of infection--pain, pus, swelling, tenderness, and redness--occur, Dr. Shwer wants you to come into the Southaven office for an examination. To control the pain, eliminate the infection and help the nail grow properly, he may:
- Prescribe an oral antibiotic
- Trim the nail properly (straight across and not too short)
- Remove the side of the nail where it has intruded into the skin (also called a partial nail avulsion)
Partial nail avulsion allows the ingrown toenail to grow back straight. This in-office procedure is done with locally injected anesthetic, and you can expect your nail to take several months to look normal again.
Preventing ingrown toenails
Dr. Shwer encourages his patients to pay attention to their feet on a daily basis. This is particularly important for diabetic patients.
As such, please incorporate these foot care strategies into your personal hygiene routine:
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water, and dry them well, particularly between the toes.
- Use a foot cream to moisturize and avoid cracking.
- Wear comfortable shoes which give good support and plenty of room in the toes.
- Wear clean socks (also which fit properly) every day.
- Avoid going barefoot outdoors.
- Trim your nails straight across with a clean, sharp clipper.
- See Dr. Shwer once a year, or as he advises, for a podiatric examination.
Ten healthy nails
It's possible when you get your ingrown toenail treated as soon as possible. Don't wait. Call Dr. Brian Shwer at his office in Southaven, MS, for your personal consultation at (662) 349-7333.