What Is An Ingrown Toenail And How Do You Treat It?

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What Is An Ingrown Toenail And How Do You Treat It?

Any condition which affects walking or standing is frustrating and irritating, but especially frustrating are ingrown toenails. Left untreated, ingrown toenailan ingrown toenail can be very painful. However, there are ways to prevent and treat them. Find out more about ingrown toenails with help from your Fairfax, VA podiatrist.

What is an ingrown toenail? 
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the toenail grows into and penetrates the skin. Ingrown toenails may become a reoccurring issue. They are most often found on the big, or “great”, toes. This condition begins with slight discomfort and progresses into severe pain and, in some cases, infection of the affected skin. There may be drainage, discharge and, if it becomes infected, pus coming from the area of the ingrown nail.

How does an ingrown toenail occur? 
The main cause of an ingrown toenail is improperly cutting your toenail. The best way to prevent this condition is to cut your toenails straight across and file down the sides. However, there are more factors which contribute to an ingrown toenail. Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • improper shoe gear, especially in sports
  • trauma to the foot
  • foot issues like hammertoe or bunions
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • toenail fungus
  • poor hygiene
  • improper gait

If an ingrown toenail becomes persistent, reoccurring or extremely painful, it should be treated by your podiatrist.

How is an ingrown toenail treated in Fairfax?
At-home treatment for an ingrown toenail involves lukewarm water soaks, keeping the foot elevated and taking over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and swelling. However, if the symptoms persist, you may need your podiatrist's help. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. After diagnosing an ingrown toenail, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to remove part or all of the afflicted toenail. Recovery time is normally about two weeks with regular foot soaks.

If you are in need of treatment for your ingrown toenail, please consult with Dr. Steven Vetter at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA for more information and to find the best solution for you. Call (703) 352-8888 to schedule your appointment today!