If you’re one of the 18% of American adults who develop an ingrown toenail over their lifetime, you know the intense pain that often accompanies the problem. Dr. McElvin Pope in New York City and Long Island City has extensive experience relieving the pain of ingrown toenails and preventing the problem from recurring. Although an ingrown toenail may clear up on its own, many people need professional treatment, primarily when an infection develops. To learn more, call Dr. Pope’s Manhattan office or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
An ingrown toenail, called onychocryptosis, develops when the edge of one of your toenails grows into the surrounding skin. Although any toe could have an ingrown nail, it most often affects your big toe.
Ingrown toenails arise from a variety of common problems, including:
When you trim your toenail too short or give it a rounded shape rather than cutting straight across the top, it’s easy for the surrounding skin to fold over the nail. As the nail continues to grow, it pushes further into the skin.
Shoes that are too small or too tight force the nail into your skin, increasing the risk of it becoming ingrown.
Patients who have bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail. Additionally, stubbing your toe or engaging in activities that put pressure on your toes may also increase your risk.
Ingrown toenails generally cause pain in the affected area, and the skin around the nail becomes red and swollen. An infection may develop if the nail cuts through your skin, a problem that can become serious if the infection spreads.
You may reduce inflammation by soaking your foot in a tub of lukewarm water and gently massaging the side of the nail. Don’t try to trim the ingrown nail, however, because it’s easy to cut the skin or worsen the problem accidentally.
If you see any sign of an infection, or you have a health condition like diabetes or poor leg circulation, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pope so you can get proper treatment and prevent complications like sores that won’t heal.
Dr. Pope may treat your ingrown toenail using one of the following methods:
Dr. Pope gently lifts off the edge of the ingrown toenail and temporarily uses a small splint to keep the nail separated from the skin while the nail grows.
A nail avulsion is a procedure to remove the ingrown toenail along with the underlying tissue. During a PNA, Dr. Pope only removes the ingrown portion of the nail. He may recommend a PNA when the problem is severe, or a full nail avulsion if you have a recurring ingrown toenail.
If you develop an ingrown toenail that’s painful, swollen, or infected, call or schedule an appointment using online booking for expert treatment.