Each year, about 16 million people in the US will end up getting an ingrown toenail. This condition usually affects the side of the nail on the big toe causing a lot of pain. For someone who has never had an ingrown toenail, the intense pain can come as quite a surprise.
What is an ingrown toenail?
Toenails generally grow out straight toward the tip of your toe. With an ingrown toenail, the corners of your nail grow sideways or downward into the skin. This causes irritation, redness, swelling, and pain. Some people may also notice a clear or whitish-yellowish fluid from an infection.
How do you get an ingrown toenail?
Unfortunately, some people are just more likely to suffer from ingrown toenails, but other things can cause ingrown toenails, such as:
- cutting your nails the wrong way
- wearing shoes that crowd your toes
- repeated irritation from everyday activities
- certain medical conditions like diabetes and obesity can also contribute to causing an ingrown toenail
What should I do if I have an ingrown toenail?
Although it would be nice if the magician at Wednesday’s “The Science of Magic Show” in Wappingers Falls could wave a wand and fix your ingrown toenail, very often you will need care from a podiatrist.
If you have diabetes, neuropathy, or any type of blood circulation problem, do NOT try any type of treatment at home.
For those with no other medical conditions, you can try soaking the affected foot in warm soapy water for 10 minutes two or three times a day until your appointment with the foot doctor.
How are ingrown toenails treated?
The treatment is usually a only few minutes and is far easier than most people expect. Most often, your toe is given a small amount of anesthetic to put it to sleep and then a small portion of your toenail is removed. Normally, when the procedure is done, some additional medication is applied to the area to prevent the problem from returning. Some patients may also need an oral antibiotic.
How can I prevent getting an ingrown toenail in the future?
- Trim your toenails straight across
- Keep your toenail length even with the tips of your toes
- Wear shoes that are wide and roomy in the toe area