Some ingrown toenails resolve themselves over time, but the condition can be incredibly painful as well as a recurring problem for many people. If you’re struggling with ingrown toenails, help is available from the podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists, with offices in Elgin, Schaumburg, Huntley, and the Montclare neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Call or click to book a visit online, and begin a path toward healthy and pain-free toenails.
An ingrown toenail develops when the side or corner of a toenail grows at a downward angle into the skin alongside your nail. Many people experience at least one ingrown toenail during their lives; for some, the condition occurs again and again.
Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe but can develop on your other toes. Signs you might have an ingrown toenail include:
If these symptoms aren’t severe, you might simply wait until the nail grows out enough to correct the issue. However, if your ingrown toenail is significantly painful, you may need treatment to resolve the matter.
If you have diabetes or a condition that negatively impacts your circulation, it’s important to see a specialist for ingrown toenails.
Your podiatrist begins by examining the area to determine if an infection is present. Sharing the details of when you started to notice discomfort or other symptoms and the circumstances around the development of the ingrown toenail can help guide your treatment path.
If you haven’t experienced frequent ingrown toenails, your doctor may suggest you simply keep the area clean, avoid wearing shoes that place pressure on the toenail, and use antibiotic cream until your nail and skin heal.
However, if you suffer from frequent ingrown toenails, the best treatment might be surgery to remove part or all of the affected toenail. This can ensure that ingrown toenails don’t continue to cause discomfort and a risk of infection.
Some ingrown toenails develop due to a genetic predisposition for curved nails. This increases the chance that your toenails frequently push into the skin surrounding the nail edges. There’s little you can do to prevent ingrown toenails in these cases.
A common cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that squeeze the toes together. This can pull and tug the skin alongside your toenails, changing the direction of new nail growth. Changing to shoes that provide more room in the toe box can reduce your risk of an ingrown toenail.
Injuring your toenails can also change how your nail grows, so wearing protective footwear can help, especially if your job or hobbies are at risk of foot trauma.
Cutting your toenails too short or trimming your nails in a rounded shape can also encourage nails to grow into the surrounding skin. The best way to trim your toenails is straight across, without getting too close to where the nail extends away from your skin.
If you’re concerned about ingrown toenails, book a visit online or by phone today.