Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are among the most common foot problems encountered by podiatrists, people working in the shoe business, and the general public. It is estimated that about 2% of the population in America suffers from ingrown toenails. The disease is generally caused by a combination of factors rather than any one aspect. Some people are genetically predisposed to the problem, whereas others who use stilettos can precipitate ingrown toenails due to their stress on the toe area. If you have an ingrown toenail in Midtown East, you should seek treatment to avoid complications.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Several factors are causing ingrown toenails. A person may be predisposed to this condition based on family history, so the problem runs in families. Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Tight shoes – tight-fitting shoes put stress on the sides of the toes and force them together. Eventually, the toe’s skin starts to grow around one of the toes – typically the big toe.
  • Shoe trauma – wearing high heels puts continuous pressure on one toe and can force it into an abnormal position. It can damage nail beds, causing ingrown nails.
  • Certain types of medicine i.e anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), clopidogrel (Plavix), dabigatran (Pradaxa), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto).
  • Poor foot mechanics – biomechanical deformities lead to excessive load on the big toe. This means that an abnormal alignment of the toes, which can lead to ingrown nails.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

The main problem caused by ingrown nails is severe pain in the toe. Other symptoms include:

  • Toe redness – the skin around the nail swells due to inflammation, making it sensitive to touch. There may or may not be pus discharge from the ingrown toenail.
  • Bumps on the skin – They mostly appear where the nail penetrates through.

The infected area may feel warm to the touch, and there may be flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue. If left untreated, ingrown nails can lead to severe infections, so it is best not to ignore the signs.

Treatment of Ingrown Toenails

To treat ingrown toenails, a podiatrist will either recommend or perform one of the following treatments:

Medical treatment

There is very little medicine available for the treatment of ingrown toenails. Antibiotics can be prescribed if the infection is present, and you may use antiseptic products to clean the area. However, this form of treatment is not very effective and leads to a relapse.

Surgical removal

There are different surgical procedures available depending on the severity of the condition. The simplest method is to remove a small part from under the nail’s corner, making cutting down on sharp edges easier. A podiatrist should only perform this type of surgery in a hospital setting. The doctor will give the patient local or general anesthesia, depending on how many toes are affected.

More complex procedures involve removing the entire nail bed – which is called partial nail avulsion.

In summary, ingrown toenails are common conditions caused by tight shoes, shoe trauma, poor foot mechanics, and medications. Common symptoms include toe redness, skin bumps, and spots. You can treat the condition using medications or through surgical removal.

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