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.
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
Wearing shoes can become a painful experience if you suffer from hammertoes. Luckily, your Danbury, New Milford and Plainville, CT, podiatrists, Drs. Joseph Treadwell, Christian Davis, and Rihamary Jimenez of Foot & Ankle Specialists of Connecticut offer treatments that can ease your pain.
What can I do about my hammertoe?
Hammertoe causes the joints of your second, third, fourth or fifth toes to bend. If you look at your toe from the side, you'll notice that it resembles a hammer. Like most health conditions, hammertoes are easier to treat when you first notice the symptoms. Initially, you may be able to straighten your toe momentarily by pressing on it. If you don't receive treatment, the toe may become rigid and inflexible.
These strategies and treatments can be helpful if you have a hammertoe:
- Visit the Shoe Store: The shoes you usually wear may press on your hammertoe, increasing pain and causing the formation of corns and calluses. Replacing your usual shoes with roomier footwear is a good idea if you have a hammertoe. Look for shoes that offer high, roomy toe boxes that don't press on your hammertoe.
- Give Your Toe a Workout: A few simple exercises may prevent your toe from becoming rigid. Try scrunching a towel with your toes or attempt to pick up marbles with your toes.
- Add a Little Cushioning: Reduce pain and pressure on your toe by applying corn and callus pads.
- Reduce Corns and Calluses: Use a pumice stone to gradually remove layers of hardened skin. Don't attempt to treat corns and calluses at home if you have diabetes, as home treatment could increase your risk of an infection.
- See Your Danbury, New Milford, or Plainville, CT, Foot Doctor: Your foot doctor offers a variety of treatments that can improve your comfort, including splints that help realign your toe and prescription orthotics that control muscle and tendon imbalances. If your pain doesn't get better after using over-the-counter medication, your podiatrist may recommend a corticosteroid injection. Surgery may be the best option if your toe is painful or rigid.
Don't let your hammertoe disrupt your life. Schedule an appointment with podiatrists Drs. Joseph Treadwell, Christian Davis, and Rihamary Jimenez of Foot & Ankle Specialists of Connecticut by calling (203) 748-2220 for the Danbury, CT, office, (860) 355-3139 for the New Milford office, or (860) 747-2200 for the Plainville office.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.