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Ingrown Toenail



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 treatments do at home. However, others require a visit to a Podiatrist. In home, you may want to try some self-care techniques. Soak your foot. Avoid excess shoe pressure on your toenails. Follow the proper nail trimming technique (more on this later.) We sometimes prescribe oral antibiotics. There are also several surgical treatments available. 

Surgical Treatment Options for an Ingrown Toenail

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

  • Temporarily removing the problem nail border or corner. 
  • The avulsion (or detachment) of the nail or tuncomfortable nail border.
  • A partial matrixectomy is permanently removing 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. We call this the nail matrix. The nail matrix is under the skin at the base of the toenail. 

There are three methods that we use to eliminate the nail matrix.

  1. First, the surgical procedure  dissects and removes the matrix.
  2. Secondly, we can perform the matrixectomy chemically. In this case a solution or injection is applied to the area. The compound stops the cells from working properly.
  3. Alternatively, we apply electrical currents to the matrix cells to destroy 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. When we administer a local anesthesia, 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

Several different causes help create the all too common painful condition of an ingrown toenail. These causes may act alone or in conjunction with one another. Be aware of the underlying causes and risk factors. This 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

  • 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 nail damage can also cause an ingrown nail.

Some genetic conditions give you an ingrown toenail.

  • You are more likely to get 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 things can be inherited and will increase the chance of having ingrown nails.

How should I dress a bandage on an ingrown toenail?

Dressing a bandage on an ingrown toenail involves several steps to ensure proper care and prevent infection. Here are the key points:

  1. Clean Your Hands: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent introducing bacteria to the area.
  2. Clean the Affected Area: Gently clean the ingrown toenail and surrounding skin with warm water and mild soap. You can also use an antiseptic solution if available.
  3. Soak the Foot: Soak the affected foot in warm, soapy water for 15-20 minutes to soften the skin and nail. Adding Epsom salt can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  4. Dry Thoroughly: Pat the foot dry with a clean towel, making sure the area around the ingrown toenail is completely dry.
  5. Apply an Antiseptic: Use an antiseptic ointment or cream on the ingrown toenail to help prevent infection.
  6. Use a Sterile Gauze Pad: Place a small, sterile gauze pad over the ingrown toenail. Ensure it covers the affected area completely.
  7. Secure with Medical Tape: Secure the gauze pad with medical tape, wrapping it gently around the toe. Avoid wrapping too tightly, as this can restrict blood flow.

Are children and teenagers more susceptible to ingrown toenails?

Yes, children and teenagers can be more susceptible to ingrown toenails for several reasons:

  1. Rapid Growth: Their feet and nails grow quickly, which can lead to improper nail trimming if not monitored.
  2. Active Lifestyle: Children and teenagers often engage in sports and physical activities that put pressure on their toes, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails.
  3. Tight Footwear: They may wear shoes that are too tight or outgrown, which can compress the toes and cause the nails to grow into the skin.
  4. Improper Nail Care: They might not have developed proper nail trimming habits, such as cutting nails too short or rounding the edges, which can contribute to ingrown toenails.