Ingrown toenails are a common problem. They occur when the nail border (side of the toenail) grows into the skin. The nail irritates the skin, often causing pain, redness, welling and warmth. If an ingrown nails causes a break in the skin, bacteria can enter causing an infection.
Ingrown nails can be caused by several factors: trauma, improper nail trimming, improper sized footwear, heredity, or other nail conditions. If you have an infection or if you have medical conditions that put your feet at high risk (diabetes, nerve damage, or poor circulation), home treatment is discouraged.
If you do not have an infection or any underlying medical conditions previously mentioned, soaking your foot in room temperature to warm water (NEVER HOT water) with Epsom salt may be helpful. Avoid attempting “bathroom surgery”. If your symptoms worsen, contact our office for an appointment. Depending on the severity of the ingrown and presence/absence of infections, your doctor may recommend oral antibiotics, removing the ingrown piece of nail, or removing the side of the nail. The nail matrix (area that the nail grows from) can be removed to prevent the ingrown nail from returning. Tips for preventing ingrown nails include: proper trimming and well fitting shoes/socks.
Fungus of the toenails is a common problem that affects people of all ages. Toenail fungus (tinea unguium) is a fungal infection similar to tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) which affects the skin of the foot. The fungus often starts at the tip of the nail and grows underneath the nail. Fungal toenail often have an altered appearance, they can become discolored (white, yellow, or brownish) and become thickened. Fungus lives in warm, moist areas. A foot and ankle surgeon can diagnose the problem and recommend treatments.