Ingrown Toenails

Don’t Let Foot Pain Slow You Down. 

Michael Metyk, D.P.M. is equipped to handle all your podiatric needs. Minor foot problems like ingrown toenails may cause serious complications in some people. See your doctor if you have an ingrown toenail and you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor circulation, or you have a compromised immune system.

Why Does This Happen?

An ingrown toenail happens when the corner or edge of your toenail curves and grows into the surrounding skin. This may cause pain, redness, and swelling. The condition is very common in both men and women. Your big toe is most likely to be affected.

Common causes of ingrown toenails are:

  • toenail trauma, such as stubbing your toe
  • wearing shoes that are too tight
  • cutting toenails too short
  • cutting toenails at an angle

To prevent infection, it’s important to treat ingrown toenails as soon as they occur. Mild cases may require minor treatment with home remedies. Serious cases may need surgical intervention.

Preparing For Your Appointment

The doctor can diagnose an ingrown toenail. Prepare a list of questions to ask during your appointment. Some basic questions include:

  • Is my condition temporary or long term (chronic)?
  • What are my treatment options and the pros and cons of each?
  • What results can I expect?
  • Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
  • What nail care routine do you recommend while my toe heals?

The doctor is likely to ask you questions such as:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Do you have the symptoms all the time?
  • What at-home treatments have you used?
  • Do you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your legs or feet?

After examining the toe, the foot and ankle surgeon will select the treatment best suited for you. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

Sometimes a minor surgical procedure, often performed in the office, will ease the pain and remove the offending nail. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor removes part of the nail’s side border. Some nails may become ingrown again, requiring removal of the nail root.

Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be applied. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day. If your surgeon has prescribed an oral antibiotic, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved.