Swelling, reddened flesh, shooting pain, and pus are just some of the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of having an ingrown toenail. Although this condition can sometimes be successfully treated through home remedies, ingrown toenails often progress to the point of infection, a point that then requires professional treatment. Read on to learn what causes this problem, when it’s right to seek medical help, and how our podiatrists can help get your foot back to a healthy state!
The Causes and Symptoms
Before we cover how to treat ingrown toenails, let’s first review the core causes and symptoms that hallmark this condition…
Ingrown toenails initially develop due to a few different factors, including:
- Cutting the toenail too short
- Rounding the toenail during grooming
- Wearing improperly fitting shoes
- Experiencing toe trauma
If the flesh on the side of the toe has become red, swollen, and tender, you likely have an ingrown toenail. If you have caught this problem while it’s still in its early stages, you can try implementing some of the home remedies listed in the next section. However, if your toe is exhibiting some of the following signs of infection, you should seek professional podiatric help:
- Pervasive shooting or throbbing toe pain
- Regular bleeding
- The presence of a pus-filled blister
- The skin has started growing over the nail
As mentioned above, if an ingrown toenail is caught before infection sets in, there are a few different methods that you can practice at home in order to clear up the issue. Some of these include:
- Around 3 to 4 times a day, submerge your foot into warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Regularly doing this should reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
- Following each soaking, use cotton to separate the ingrown toenail from the flesh that it is starting to grow under. This should allow the nail to grow above the skin again.
- Avoid snug or constraining shoes.
If these actions fail to clear up the problem in 2 to 3 days, you should pursue professional treatment.
In the case of a severe or recurring infection, there are a few different procedures that your podiatrist can perform to make your toe healthy again. Depending on the specifics of your ingrown toenail, one of the following treatments may be recommended:
- Partial Nail Removal: In the case of a severe ingrown toenail, your doctor can numb your toe before physically removing the ingrown portion of the nail.
- Nail and Tissue Removal: If the same toe is repeatedly experiencing the same ingrown toenail problem, this procedure can be performed to prevent future recurrences. It entails your podiatrist removing a portion of the underlying nail bed, thus preventing the nail from become ingrown again.
Concerned About Your Toe? Give Us a Call!
If your ingrown toenail needs medical attention, call our podiatric office today!
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
An unexpected fall or twist can result in an injury of the foot or ankle, such as a sprain or strain. Immediate first aid can help prevent complications, reduce pain and improve recovery.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation--commonly referred to as R.I.C.E.--is the first and best treatment for minor injuries. The following tips can aid in the early treatment of common foot and ankle injuries to help reduce swelling and control the inflammatory process during the initial phase of injury.
Rest: Whether you have a strain or a sprain, rest from any physical activity is essential to protecting your injured ligaments, tendons or muscles from further damage while your body starts the repair process. Avoid putting weight on the injured foot or ankle as much as possible. In some cases, complete immobilization may be required.
Ice: Gently ice your foot or ankle with ice wrapped in a towel in a 20-minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle for the first few days post-injury. Ice is excellent at reducing inflammation and pain.
Compression: Applying some type of compressive wrap or bandage to an injured area can greatly reduce the amount of initial swelling.
Elevation: Prop your foot up while lying down or sitting so that it is higher than or equal to the level of the heart.
After a few days of R.I.C.E., many acute injuries will begin to heal. If pain or swelling does not subside after a few days, or if you are unsure of the severity of your injury, make an appointment with your podiatrist. A skilled podiatrist can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
You may be surprised to learn that most feet can benefit from custom shoe inserts from our offices in Norfolk and Suffolk, VA!
Did you know that only about 1 in 4 people have proper running patterns? This means that the majority of people out there pronate, which can lead to added stress and pressure on the feet. Of course, if you’ve ever tried to use those store bought orthotics (also known as shoe inserts), you may have noticed that they do not provide you with the comfort and support you need.
In fact, that can often lead your feet to feel pretty cramped. This is because store-bought orthotics aren’t custom-made to provide your unique foot shape with what it needs. This is where our podiatrist Dr. Jesse Anderson comes in!
More about orthotics
A helpful way of understanding over-the-counter orthotics is to think of them the same as reading glasses that you get over-the-counter rather than as a prescription. It may correct the issue a bit, but it isn’t nearly as effective as it could be if you had a proper prescription.
The prescription orthotics from our offices in Norfolk and Suffolk, VA, are designed to realign the foot and ankle and improve biomechanics in order to redistribute the weight evenly throughout the foot. It can alleviate strain while also added cushioning, stabilization, shock absorption, and support.
Who can benefit from orthotics?
Since many people have some kind of imbalance within their feet, most people can benefit from what orthotics have to offer. Custom orthotics are able to,
- Improve your balance
- Alleviate pain in the feet, ankles, legs, or back
- Provide support to the feet, particularly the arches and heels
- Prevent corns, ulcers, and calluses
- Reduce fatigue and achiness due to standing or walking for long periods of time
- Correct alignment issues
You could benefit from orthotics if you are dealing with any of these conditions,
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
- Ankle instability
- Leg or knee pain
- Arthritis in the feet
Athletes can also benefit from orthotics, as it can improve the alignment of the feet during activity and even provide the feet and ankles with support and cushioning.
What are the different types of orthotics?
The three main types of orthotics are soft, semi-rigid, and rigid. Based on the issues you are dealing with, Dr. Anderson will be able to determine the best option for you. For example, soft orthotics take pressure off certain areas and can be great for diabetic feet while rigid orthotics can be ideal for those wearing dress shoes or those who are overweight.
Do you want to find out how orthotics could improve your foot health in Norfolk or Suffolk, VA? If so, then call AAL Podiatry Associates today to schedule a consultation: 757-625-2962 for Norfolk, and 757-539-2098 for Suffolk.
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