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What Are Ingrown Toenails?

What are Ingrown Toenails?
Ingrown toenails are due to the penetration of the edges of the nail plate into the soft tissue of the toe that begins with a painful irritation and then often becomes infected. With bacterial invasion, the nail margin becomes red, swollen, and often produces drainage or pus. This relatively minor condition can become severe in those with diabetes or poor circulation and in this instance, a simple ingrown toenail can result in gangrene of the toe. Patients with joint replacements or pace makers are at risk of bacterial infections spreading through the blood stream to these areas and should seek medical attention at first sign of an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails can be caused in several ways: a hereditary tendency to form ingrown toenails, improperly cutting toenails either too short or cutting into the of the nail, and wearing ill-fitting shoes. Once an ingrown toenail starts they will often reoccur.

What is the Treatment for Ingrown Toenails?
Treatment for ingrown toenails is relatively a painless procedure. Your podiatrist will first numb the toe and remove the nail margin. Once the nail margin is removed the root of the nail in this area is destroyed, usually with an acid used to kill the root of the nail. Once the numbness wears off there may be some slight discomfort but it does not require pain medicine and a resumption of sports or other activities is generally permitted the following day. There are very few complications associated with this procedure but a reoccurrence of the ingrown toenail is possible a small percentage of the time. Continuation of the infection is possible and can be treated with oral antibiotics. There is also a possibility that the remaining nail may become lose from the nail bed and come off. A new nail will grow to replace it over several months but should be expected to be narrower with the removal of the infected nail margin.

To prevent ingrown toenails it is recommended that you wear properly fitting shoes and trim the toenails straight across and not too short.

Metroplex Foot and Ankle is a progressive group of physicians and surgeons who are committed to helping our patients to achieve their full wellness potential. Contact our Dallas Podiatrist, Garland Podiatrist, or Richardson Podiatrist offices to schedule an appointment today.

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