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Ingrown Toenail

Kalmar Family Podiatry

Podiatry & Podiatric Surgeons located in Huntington, NY

Having an ingrown toenail is a common problem that may not seem too serious at first, but if left untreated your ingrown toenail is likely to become increasingly painful and could become infected. The expert foot and ankle specialists at Kalmar Family Podiatry in Huntington, New York, can take care of your ingrown toenail and prevent any complications, so call the office today to make an appointment, or use the online booking tool.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is one that starts to grow into the skin and flesh around the nail. The normal path of the nail’s growth gets diverted so that the nail curves into the skin, digging in or growing through the skin.

As toenails grow fairly slowly, you may not realize at first that your toenail has started to grow into the skin. The edge of the nail may eventually break into the skin and cause inflammation. Pain, redness, and drainage are the typical ingrown toenail symptoms seen.

Do I need to worry about an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail may seem fairly minor, especially if it’s not causing pain yet. However, if ingrown toenails don’t receive corrective treatment, over time, they can cause more severe pain and may become infected.  

Infection in the toenail and surrounding tissues could potentially lead to a serious infection of the bones in your foot. If you have diabetes, any injury or infection to the foot could lead to severe complications. However, if the nail is not currently hurting, over aggressive home treatment can lead to worsening symptoms long term. If you believe you have an ingrown toenail then there is no better time to see your doctor at Kalmar Family Podiatry then now.  

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are very common, and most frequently develop as a result of using incorrect techniques when trimming your toenails. Toenails shouldn’t be shaped as you may your fingernails, but cut straight across, so the path of the nail doesn’t get directed into the skin. Cutting the nails too short also encourages ingrown toenails, so you should aim to trim your toenails to the same length as the skin on your toes.

Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Having irregularly shaped toenails
  • Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes
  • Fungal infections of the toenail
  • Hereditary deformities of the toenails

As the ingrown toenail digs into the soft flesh of the toe, you may be tempted to try and get under the affected nail with the nail clippers and snip out the section that’s causing the discomfort. However, this is likely to make the problem worse in the long run, because the toenail becomes even more embedded in the skin as it grows back.

What is the treatment for ingrown toenails?

Your podiatrist as Kalmar Family Podiatry can realign the ingrown toenail by carefully trimming then lifting the nail away from the toe, so it grows on the correct path again.

If there’s a sign of infection present or a severe ingrown toenail noted, you may need to have the affected part of the nail removed surgically. Ingrown toenail surgery is an in-office procedure that only requires a local anesthetic. Oral antibiotics are usually NOT a stand-alone treatment for infected ingrown nails and removal of the nail is indicated.

If you have an ingrown toenail or think you may have an infection, call Kalmar Family Podiatry today, or book an appointment online.