Swelling, reddened flesh, shooting pain, and pus are just some of the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of having an ingrown toenail. Although this condition can sometimes be successfully treated through home remedies, ingrown toenails often progress to the point of infection, a point that then requires professional treatment. Read on to learn what causes this problem, when it’s right to seek medical help, and how our podiatrists can help get your foot back to a healthy state!
The Causes and Symptoms
Before we cover how to treat ingrown toenails, let’s first review the core causes and symptoms that hallmark this condition…
Ingrown toenails initially develop due to a few different factors, including:
- Cutting the toenail too short
- Rounding the toenail during grooming
- Wearing improperly fitting shoes
- Experiencing toe trauma
If the flesh on the side of the toe has become red, swollen, and tender, you likely have an ingrown toenail. If you have caught this problem while it’s still in its early stages, you can try implementing some of the home remedies listed in the next section. However, if your toe is exhibiting some of the following signs of infection, you should seek professional podiatric help:
- Pervasive shooting or throbbing toe pain
- Regular bleeding
- The presence of a pus-filled blister
- The skin has started growing over the nail
As mentioned above, if an ingrown toenail is caught before infection sets in, there are a few different methods that you can practice at home in order to clear up the issue. Some of these include:
- Around 3 to 4 times a day, submerge your foot into warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly doing this should reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
- Following each soaking, use cotton to separate the ingrown toenail from the flesh that it is starting to grow under. This should allow the nail to grow above the skin again.
- Avoid snug or constraining shoes.
If these actions fail to clear up the problem in 2 to 3 days, you should pursue professional treatment.
In the case of a severe or recurring infection, there are a few different procedures that your podiatrist can perform to make your toe healthy again. Depending on the specifics of your ingrown toenail, one of the following treatments may be recommended:
- Partial Nail Removal: In the case of a severe ingrown toenail, your doctor can numb your toe before physically removing the ingrown portion of the nail.
- Nail and Tissue Removal: If the same toe is repeatedly experiencing the same ingrown toenail problem, this procedure can be performed to prevent future recurrences. It entails your podiatrist removing a portion of the underlying nail bed, thus preventing the nail from become ingrown again.
Concerned About Your Toe? Give Us a Call!
If your ingrown toenail needs medical attention, call our podiatric office today!
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
An unexpected fall or twist can result in an injury of the foot or ankle, such as a sprain or strain. Immediate first aid can help prevent complications, reduce pain and improve recovery.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation--commonly referred to as R.I.C.E.--is the first and best treatment for minor injuries. The following tips can aid in the early treatment of common foot and ankle injuries to help reduce swelling and control the inflammatory process during the initial phase of injury.
Rest: Whether you have a strain or a sprain, rest from any physical activity is essential to protecting your injured ligaments, tendons or muscles from further damage while your body starts the repair process. Avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle as much as possible. In some cases, complete immobilization may be required.
Ice: Gently ice your foot or ankle with ice wrapped in a towel in a 20-minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle for the first few days post-injury. Ice is excellent at reducing inflammation and pain.
Compression: Applying some type of compressive wrap or bandage to an injured area can greatly reduce the amount of initial swelling.
Elevation: Prop your foot up while lying down or sitting so that it is higher than or equal to the level of the heart.
After a few days of R.I.C.E., many acute injuries will begin to heal. If pain or swelling does not subside after a few days, or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, make an appointment with your podiatrist. A skilled podiatrist can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.
5 Treatment Options for Bunions
A bunion is a “bump” on the outer edge of the big toe that forms when the bone or tissue at the base of the big toe joint shifts out of place. Bunions tend to run in families. Footwear choices play a role too. Wearing high heels or tight shoes can cause bunions. Your symptoms can get worse if the bunions are left untreated, so it's best to see a podiatrist. Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers, which has offices in Lake Ridge, VA, and Stafford, VA, offers treatments for bunions. Read on to learn about several treatment options for bunions.
1. Padding- Padding is often the first step in a treatment plan. Padding using materials such as fleecy foam, fleecy web, gel, or felt hallux valgus covers can help protect the skin and joints from footwear friction and rubbing caused by your shoes. Padding the bunions will ease your pain and allow you to continue a normal, active life. Padding also prevents bunions from getting worse.
2. Medication- Your healthcare provider may recommend a prescription medication or over-the-counter pain medicine for the pain. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium can help you control the pain of bunions. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can reduce pain and swelling. Be safe with medication. Follow your healthcare provider's directions when taking medication.
3. Custom Orthotics- Custom foot orthotics can be a valuable treatment for bunions. Orthotics can help take the pressure off your toes and alleviate your pain. Custom orthotics will keep your feet, legs and body well-aligned and pain-free, making it possible for you to perform activities and sports better. You can get custom-made orthotics from your podiatrist.
4. Steroid Shots- Steroid shots, or cortisone shots, can also be added to your treatment program. Steroid shots can relieve your pain temporarily. The injections usually comprise a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. Steroids work by reducing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system. You can get steroid injections at your healthcare provider's office.
5. Bunionectomy- If your symptoms are severe, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to remove your bunions. The procedure is called bunionectomy. The aim of surgery is to correct the deformity and eliminate pain. Bunion surgery is performed in a surgery center under local or general anesthesia. With all surgical procedures, there are risks and complications, therefore surgery is not usually advised unless nonsurgical treatment methods don't relieve your pain.
Say hello to healthy and happy feet. Call Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers at (703) 491-9500 today to schedule an appointment in Lake Ridge, VA. Call us at (540) 720-0700 to schedule an appointment in Stafford, VA. We can help you get rid of those bunions once and for all. You will experience exemplary service and state-of-the-art care at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers!
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
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