Ingrown toenails cut into the skin, usually on your big toe, causing soreness and pain. If you have an ingrown toenail, Mitchell Wachtel, DPM, can help. At his offices in North Andover, Lowell, and Haverhill, Massachusetts, Dr. Wachtel and his team can correct the path of the ingrown toenail or remove a severely ingrown one. To find relief for your painful ingrown toenail, call Mitchell Wachtel, DPM, today or book an appointment online.
An ingrown toenail develops because the side or corner of a nail starts growing into the skin and soft tissue. This most often happens in the big toe. The area can swell and redden, and if the nail is deeply ingrown, it’s likely to be painful.
You could develop an infection, in which case your symptoms worsen and you might see pus in the affected area. Infection isn’t common in a healthy foot, but could be a problem if you have diabetes. This is because the blood flow might not be very good in your foot, making it more difficult for your body to combat any infection.
An ingrown toenail is most often due to the way you cut the nails. Trimming them below the level of your toe and shaping the sides are the main problems. They encourage the nail to regrow into the skin instead of over it.
Toenail injuries and having unusually curved toenails can sometimes lead to ingrown toenails. Tight-fitting shoes can also encourage toenail growth into the skin.
At home, you can soak the affected foot in warm water, which relieves inflammation and reduces pain in your toe. But if you have an ingrown toenail, don’t attempt to cut the ingrown portion out yourself. It might give you temporary relief from your discomfort, but it encourages the nail to penetrate even deeper into your toe.
Dr. Wachtel can safely treat your ingrown toenail so it grows correctly. Options include:
If the nail is only slightly ingrown, Dr. Wachtel can lift the nail edge and put cotton, a splint, or some dental floss under it. This separates the nail from your skin, so it grows above the skin. You need to soak your toe and replace the splint, floss, or cotton daily, unless you use cotton coated with a waterproof fixing solution.
Alternatively, Dr. Wachtel can put a gutter splint under the ingrown nail. He numbs your toe, then places a tiny slit tube underneath the nail. The splint stays there until your nail has grown above the skin’s edge. A gutter splint also helps ease ingrown toenail pain.
If you have a severe ingrown toenail, with pain and inflamed skin, Dr. Wachtel can numb your toe and remove the ingrown section of nail. It takes 2-4 months for the toenail to grow back. If you keep having the same problem, Dr. Wachtel might remove the nail bed underneath the ingrown toenail.
To learn more about treatments available for ingrown toenails, call Mitchell Wachtel, DPM, today or book an appointment online.