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853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 13, 2017
Category: Toe Pain

A condition that we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM see appearing with more frequency once the temperatures drop is the ingrown toenail. In patients that are prone to these, going from open toed shoes and flip flops to closed shoes, some perhaps with too narrow toe boxes, can cause an ingrown toenail to develop.

If the Conditions are Right…

When the toes are squeezed tightly together it makes it more likely that a nail being pressed into the skin around the toe will start to grow inwardly. Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Heredity—some people’s foot structure encourages ingrown nails and this can be passed on
  • Improper nail care—toenails that are cut too short or that are rounded instead of cut and filed straight across have a greater tendency to grow back into the skin
  • Injury
  • Fungal toenail infections
  • Repetitive pounding of the toe and nail into the shoe, such as long distance runners experience

Signs and Symptoms

Ingrown toenails are usually fairly obvious. First the affected area will get hard, swollen and tender. Left untreated, they may become very painful and red and once the nail actually penetrates the skin and an infection can develop. Signs of this are discharge coming from around the nail and a foul odor.

Treatment

In the early stages, you can try to back an ingrown nail out of the skin by soaking your feet in warm soapy water several times a day. After soaking when the skin is softer, gently try to massage the nail out of the skin. Never attempt to cut or dig the nail out with clippers or other sharp instruments. This can lead to a much worse injury.

If you are unable to work the ingrown nail out with soaking, make an appointment to see our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker. The foot doctor will examine your toenail and determine the best way to remove the nail. In severe cases, a partial nail plate avulsion may be recommended, which involves using local anesthesia and cutting out the ingrown part of the nail. The podiatrist will also prescribe an antibiotic if the nail has become infected.

The bottom line is that “doing nothing” will not get rid of an ingrown nail. Don’t suffer. Contact our Washington office for an appointment today by calling:  (724) 225-7410.

 

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