Ingrown toenails may seem like a small or insignificant problem. But they can cause extreme pain and put you out of action just as quickly as a more serious foot condition. At AZ Choice Foot and Ankle in Gilbert, Arizona, Christopher Suykerbuyk, DPM, encourages most patients to try treating the problem at home. When you need medical care, Dr. Suykerbuyk solves the problem and can ease pain in patients of all ages. If you have questions about self-treatment or you or your child need to see the doctor, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, but they commonly occur in children and teens. The problem develops when the edge of the toenail — usually the nail on your big toe — grows or is pushed into the soft, surrounding skin.
The most common causes include wearing tight-fitting shoes and trimming your toenail the wrong way. Tight shoes force the nail into your skin. If you cut your nails too short or make them rounded, the skin folds over the nail.
Your risk increases if you stub your toe or engage in high-pressure activities like kicking and running. You can also inherit a genetic predisposition to developing ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails always cause pain. For many people, and especially children, the pain can be severe. Infections can easily develop as the toenail breaks the skin, giving bacteria a way to take hold.
You may be able to treat an ingrown toenail at home by soaking the toe in warm water and avoiding tight shoes. Avoid cutting the nail, however, because that may add to the problem.
Don’t try to treat an ingrown toenail at home if you have diabetes, nerve damage, or a circulation problem in your leg or foot. These conditions can lead to serious complications, so it’s best to schedule an appointment with Dr. Suykerbuyk.
You should also see Dr. Suykerbuyk if you have an infection. The signs of an infection include swelling, redness, a fever, warm-feeling skin, and a pus-like discharge.
Dr. Suykerbuyk treats children and adults for ingrown toenails. He typically removes part of the nail and places cotton or dental floss under the nail to keep it away from the skin while healing occurs. He may also prescribe an antibiotic if an infection develops.
If you or your child have recurrent ingrown toenails, Dr. Suykerbuyk may remove a larger portion of the nail along with some of the nail bed to prevent it from growing.
If you have any questions about an ingrown toenail, don’t hesitate to call AZ Choice Foot and Ankle or schedule an appointment online today.