Ingrown Toenail Treatments – Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area


ingrown toenail treatment in Pittsburgh
Dr removing an ingrown toenail Pittsburgh

An ingrown nail is the result of a nail growing into the skin that surrounds it. This often occurs at either edge of the big toe. Ingrown nails may be caused by improper trimming, Diabetic nails, injuries, fungal infections, or pressure. A simple 5 minute office procedure will permanently fix this problem.

Treating Ingrown Toenail  Pittsburgh

There are several effective ingrown toenail treatment modalities. Some can be done at home while others will require a visit to a healthcare professional. In home, you may want to try some self-care techniques like soaking your foot, avoiding excess shoe pressure on your toenails and following the proper nail trimming technique (more on this later.) Antibiotics may sometimes be prescribed. There are also several surgical treatments available. 

Surgical Treatment Options for an Ingrown Toenail

Depending on the exact cause, severity, duration, and recurrences of your ingrown toenail, your surgeon may recommend different surgical treatments. Ask your surgeon which is the best treatment for your condition. Possible surgical treatments may include the following: 

  • Temporarily resectioning and removing the problem nail border or corner, 
  • The avulsion (or detachment) of the nail or troublesome nail border or
  • A matrixectomy or partial matrixectomy is permanently eliminating the whole nail or portion of the nail border that is causing the problem. During a matrixectomy, the surgeon destroys the cells that produce the nail. This is called the nail matrix. The nail matrix is under the skin at the base of the toenail. 

There are three methods that can be used to eliminate the nail matrix. First, the procedure can be done surgically by dissecting and removing the matrix. It can also be performed chemically. In this case a solution or injection is applied to the area. The compound stops the cells from working properly. Alternatively, electrical currents can be applied to the matrix cells with the goal of destroying some or all of the cells. These procedures are usually only used on patients that suffer from chronic or recurrent situations.

Surgery and Anesthesia for ingrown toenail Pittsburgh

Resection and surgery to remove the offending edge of the toenail does not normally require anesthesia. With that said local anesthesia is required for nail avulsion and matrixectomy procedures. Local anesthesia is injected straight into the affected toe. The anesthesia’s effect will last throughout the procedure. As a local anesthesia is administered and not a general, there is almost no effect on one’s ability to drive or walk after the procedure.

Ingrown Toenails: Common Causes and Risk Factors

The all too common painful condition of an ingrown toenail can be caused by several different causes. These causes may act alone or in conjunction with one another. Being aware of the underlying causes and risk factors may help you avoid or quickly identify the condition. If you are uncertain, contact your healthcare provider. 

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes, shoes with a small toe box, high heels or other footwear that may cause the toes to be compressed together. They can cause add unwanted pressure to the nail causing the nail to grow abnormally.
  • Make sure to properly trim your toenails. Insure that you trim your nails straight across. Don’t round off the edges. If cut improperly, the corners of the nail may grow into the skin. 
  • Pre-existing disorders (for example a fungal infections of the nail) can cause a thickening and/or widening of the toenail pushing it into the surrounding skin.
  • Injury at the site of the nail can also cause an ingrown toenail. Acute injuries near the nail or any form of trauma can cause damage to the nail. Sports that commonly use the foot, like soccer, can lead to ingrown toenails. 
  • Repetitive acute injury near the nail or any trauma that causes the nail to be damaged can also cause an ingrown nail.
  • Some conditions for developing an ingrown toenail are hereditary. You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you have a family member with an ingrown toenail. Some people inherent nails which are more rounded than most others. In others, the bone under the nail may be more upturned. Both of these conditions can be hereditary and will increase the chance of developing ingrown nails.