Do you have a red, painful, oozing nail? You may have also noticed one on your child while they were wearing sandals this summer or shopping for back-to-school shoes. Painful, red, swollen and oozing nails are usually signs of an ingrown toenail. When they begin to get red and swollen, these are all signs of infection and that is is time to remove the ingrowing nail. You should begin to do warm water and Epsom salt soaks at least twice per day for 10 minutes. If you can do them three or four times per day, that is even better. You should then call the office immediately for an appointment and evaluation.
There are many causes of ingrowing nails…
- Trauma (ie. stubbing your toe or dropping something on it)
- Bone spurs
- Nail cutting technique
When you have an ingrowing nail you have two options to treat it: 1) partial nail avulsion or 2) partial matrixectomy. If the nail is infected, you have little choice but to take it out so that the infection does not spread. Once the nail is removed, there is usually no need to take antibiotics. If the redness persists, however, it may be necessary. Before removing the ingrowing nail, we numb your toe with a small needle. Before giving the needle we use a cold spray so that you don’t feel the small pinch as much. Once we are sure you are numb, we remove a sliver of nail. At this time you have the option to see how the nail grows back. It may or may not grown back ingrown. You also have the option to use a small amount of acid and kill the nail at its nerve root so that the sliver we removed does not grow back most of the time. This is a permanent procedure and you will have a slightly thinner nail. As the nail heals, the slightly thinner nail is hardly noticeable.
You will be a little sore after the procedure, but you will be back to your usual activities within the week. After the procedure you can continue with Epsom salt soaks or apply a gel we call Skintegrity. If the ingrown nail comes back, you will likely notice it around the 6 month mark because nails take 9-12 months to grow in completely.
We have done ingrown nails on infants all the way up to people in their 90’s! If you think you or your child have an ingrown nail call Hollowbrook Foot Specialists today for an appointment at (845) 298-9074. We are serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls.
By: Samantha DelRegno D.P.M.