Ingrown Toenail Treatment
An ingrown toenail is a painful medical condition that can affect anyone regardless of age or other medical conditions. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments that can help repair an ingrown toenail. Do not ignore your infected nail. It is important to pay a visit to a healthcare provider. Only a medical professional can make a complete diagnosis taking into account all pertinent factors including past medical history and underlying conditions. Other medical problems and conditions can resemble the symptoms of an ingrown toenail to an unqualified person. Local trauma, tumors, toe fungus and foreign objects embedded under the skin may look the same but require a different treatment plan. An ingrown toenail is caused when the edge of the toenail bends downward and become imbedded into the skin on the toe. An ingrown toenail can often happen after trimming your toe nail too short or if your shoes are too tight or short.
Ingrown Toenails: Possible Complications
If an ingrown toenail persists over a long period of time, it can have serious consequences. It is not uncommon to develop a paronychia (localized) infection along the area where the nail edge cuts into the skin. If not treated a paronychia infection can develop into a dangerous deep, soft-tissue infection (called cellulitis), which can further advance into a very serious bone infection (called osteomyelitis).
Complications can additionally include:
- Nail Fold Hypertrophy: Scarring of the skin and nail borders surrounding the site.
- Onychodystrophy: Thickening or deformation of the nail.
- Onychomycosis: Fungal infection of the toenails.
The soft tissue at the site of the nailfold may become enlarged. It will frequently bleed and drain.
Other Complications of Ingrown Toenail Surgery
While not considered a particularly risky procedure, as with all surgery there is a small risk of complications resulting from infected toenails surgeries. They are rare but have been known to occur. Some of the post-surgical complications include:
- infection at the procedure site,
- prolonged discomfort surrounding the site of the procedure,
- a slowly healing wound (especially common in those with diabetes) and
- symptom recurrence.
You are at a higher risk of post-surgery complications if you fail to follow properly the instructions of care for the nail. Luckily, in most cases, these complications can be managed with relative ease. If it’s known that you are prone to infection, your healthcare provider might prescribe a course of oral antibiotics following the procedure.
Selecting a Healthcare Professional to Treat your Ingrown Toenail
Most practicing medical professionals are not qualified to treat toenails, they lack proper tools and specific training. Many people may first visit their family physicians, urgent-care walk-in physicians, pediatricians or dermatologists when seeking treatment for an ingrown toenail. With that said, podiatrists are doctors that specialize in the foot and ankle. They are uniquely qualified in the medical community to treat your condition. He or she will likely have much more experience dealing with conditions such as yours, plus a podiatrist’s office will be equipped with all the required instruments necessary to perform a variety of ingrown toenail procedures.