Your toenails are composed of a translucent and tough protein called keratin, which constantly grows just like hair. Sometimes, the edge of a toenail grows down and into the soft tissue of the toe, causing pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes infection. This common condition is referred to as an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails generally require examination and treatment by your podiatrist Baltimore MD (Maryland) to prevent re-occurrence.
A toenail can become ingrown due to various reasons including and not limited to:
- Deformity of the toenail or foot itself
- Improper trimming of toenails
- Poor fitting shoe gear
- Fungal infections
- Injury to the toenail
The signs and symptoms of ingrown toenails include:
- Red and inflamed skin around the toenail
- Pain, with or without touch
- Presence of drainage including pus
- Overgrowth of skin over the toenail
Certain medical conditions, including diabetes and its common findings of neuropathy and poor circulation, may increase your risk of suffering a serious infection as the result of an ingrown toenail. Untreated and infected ingrown toenails can result in bone infection and this can lead to amputation of a portion of the foot and in some cases loss of the leg. In all patients, an untreated ingrown toenail can make everyday activities such as walking difficult due to extreme pain. If there is any concern that you have an ingrown toenail, consult your local podiatrist Baltimore MD (Maryland) immediately to avoid complications arising from ingrown toenails. Dr. Jordan R. Stewart of the Timonium Foot and Ankle Center has extensive experience treating ingrown toenails and would be happy to provide you immediate care.
In order to prevent ingrown toenails, the following tips are recommended:
- Wear proper fitting shoes and be sure there is plenty of room around the toes
- Prior to trimming your toenails, soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften the nails making them easier to trim
- Use a clean nail trimmer when cutting your toenails
- If you think you have an ingrown toenail, do not attempt to remove if yourself as this can lead to pain and possible introduction of infectious bacteria
When an ingrown toenail continues to come back, seek attention by your podiatrist Baltimore MD (Maryland). Ingrown toenails are generally treated in the office with a simple procedure under local anesthesia intended to prevent the ingrown toenail from recurring. Dr. Stewart routinely performs ingrown toenails in the office and will be happy to help you if the need arises.