An ingrown toenail is a common condition where the corner or edge of one of the toenails grows into the soft fleshy part of the toe. The result of this growth is a painful, sore region that is often red and may become infected. These ingrown problems typically affect the big toe, but can occur on any one of the toes.
Many ingrown toenails can be taken care of at home, but if you are in severe pain and the pain is spreading, you will want to see a doctor right away for treatment. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment needed for the care of your toe.
Through lifestyle and home remedies, ingrown toenails can generally be treated at home. Some of the most common home remedies include soaking the foot regularly in warm water and applying antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. If the pain and swelling continues, or if you see pus or redness spreading throughout the toe, you should see your podiatrist right away.
Treatments for these toenails may include:
· Partially removing the nail
Severe ingrown toenails may require a doctor to partially remove the nail. The toenail can be trimmed back far enough or removed to allow for proper healing. Before this procedure takes place, the doctor may numb the toe with a topical anesthetic or inject the numbing medicine into the toe. This treatment can be highly effective in relieving the pain and allowing the infected site to heal.
· Lifting the nail
Slightly ingrown toenails that include redness and pain associated with minor infection may require that the edge of the nail be lifted. The nail can be lifted slightly in order to separate from the overlying skin. This procedure helps the nail to be able to grow properly above the skin edge. A doctor may insert cotton, dental floss or a splint beneath the nail to keep slightly raised.
· Removing the entire nail and tissue
Some people experience recurrent ingrown formation, and in this case, your doctor may recommend having the entire nail or a portion of the toenail removed. The underlying tissue or nail bed may also be removed to prevent the nail from growing back. The procedure is generally done with a chemical, laser or other method. If the toenail region is at risk for infection, topical or oral antibiotics will be given both before and after the treatment procedure takes place.