Ingrown Nails: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

What is an ingrown nail?

  • When the side/corner of a nail is curving into the skin.
  • This can lead to:
    • Pain, redness, swelling, drainage, infection and odor

Causes:

  • Improper nail trimming
  • Aggressive pedicures
  • Broken nail
  • Tight shoes
  • Stubbing or dropping something on your toe
  • Genetics

Prevention

  •  Cut your nails straight across
  • Avoid cutting the sides of your nails back into the skin
  • Do not pick or peel your nails

Treatment

  • Home Care
    • Foot soaks with Epsom salts
    • Antibiotic Cream – not ointment
    • Please do not attempt “bathroom surgery” this often makes the problem worse
    • If the toe is not getting better within a few days you should seek professional medical treatment.
    • Diabetic and immunocompromised patients should not attempt any home treatment and should contact their Podiatrist immediately.
  • Professional care
    • After a History and Physical exam your Podiatrist will select the best treatment
    • Often times, a minor procedure is performed to remove a small portion of the side of the nail.
      • Local numbing medicine is used
      • The medicine is put in at the base of the toe, not the tip
    • If the nail is not infected, a procedure can be performed in the office to permanently  remove a portion of the nail
      • This prevents future ingrown nails.

What to expect on my appointment day

  • It is possible that you will have a nail procedure done on the same day as your evaluation
  • Wear a loose fitting shoe, crocs or sandals
  • Eat before your appointment
  • Plan to take the rest of the day off if you have a nail procedure performed
  • Due to the numbing medicine you will have minimal pain
  • Your doctor will give you instructions on how to properly take care of the nail
  • A prescription for antibiotic cream

Did you know?

  • In Ohio – a podiatrist can treat ingrown nails of both the feet and hands
  • Podiatrists are professionally trained to treat ingrown nails

By Michael Swiatek, DPM.
Dr. Swiatek is located at Galion Hospital. To schedule an appointment, call 419-462-3465 or visit request an appointment online.

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