Don’t Let Your Ingrown Toenails Keep You From Wearing Your Favorite Fall Boots

Anyone that has suffered from an ingrown toenail knows how uncomfortable it can be.

Ingrown toenails occur because the toenail, instead of growing straight, grows into the skin. This commonly occurs on the great toes but can occur on the lesser digits as well. Common causes include ill-fitting shoes where the toes are cramped within the shoe, trauma to the nail plate causing nail deformity, nail fungus that results in a thickened nail, and improper cutting of the toenail.

Conservative therapies include properly fit shoes with a wider toe box, thin layers of cotton applied on the side of the nail plate to reduce skin irritation, and trimming nail edges straight across.  Oftentimes, these therapies do not permanently remedy the ingrown nail but can provide symptomatic relief until you can get to a podiatrist for professional medical treatment. I do not recommend delaying this appointment, as the ingrown nail may worsen and cause a serious infection.  Those with underlying medical issues such as diabetes or poor circulation may be at higher risk for complications.

People who perform “bathroom surgery” by attempting to cut their own ingrown toenail or ask the pedicurist to “remove the ingrown” can aggravate the problem, since they are usually not able to address the entire ingrown portion or the root of the toenail.

In an office setting, a skilled podiatrist can more effectively resolve the problem in a variety of ways depending on its severity. A permanent solution can be accomplished by removing the ingrown portion of the nail and the nail root or ‘matrix’ under local anesthesia. At the end of the procedure, you would have a small bandage on the toe and be given home care instructions. Most patients do not require any pain medications post procedure and can return to work or school the same day. The procedure itself takes a few minutes, but can save a lot of trouble for you. So please do not perform bathroom surgery or ask your pedicurist to remove your ingrown toenail–rather make an appointment with a trained podiatric physician so you can walk pain free again.

Dr. Hetal Kathrotiya-Mago practices at:

3801 International Drive, Suite 204

Silver Spring, MD 20906

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If you are feeling ill, please call your primary care physician, or other healthcare provider.  In the case of an emergency, please go to the nearest hospital.