Foot Care > Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails can cause extreme pain, bad infection.
When a foot hurts, it can impact how the rest of the body feels: When a toenail grows incorrectly and breaks through skin, not only does it cause extreme pain but also invites a nasty infection. This condition is known as an ingrown toenail.
Nails develop from flat cells that grow across the toe, but can get crushed or moved around, causing them to curve downward or become thickened. The process of curving down can result in the nail growing into the skin.
Thickened nails, caused by a fungus or a disturbance of the' nail cells, may cause pain and pressure from ~ shoes or even from socks. Sometimes, nails thicken as a result of psoriasis, which is not a fungus. Thick nails can become ingrown as well, causing infections.
There are easy tips to follow to cut nails:
If a red and puffy tenderness develops despite best efforts, keeping the toe extra clean can accelerate healing. A daily five?minute soak in warm sudsy water should be followed by gentle drying. Add a spot of antibiotic ointment on and around the nail. Bandage the toe loosely to shield it from dirt with an adhesive bandage approximately 1 inch in diameter.
If pressure is the problem, lift a corner of the rail and tuck a tiny wisp of cotton ball underneath. Too much cotton can permanently force the nail away from the underlying skin. Also, moist cotton is a germ magnet that should be replaced daily.
Ingrown toenails should be treated following these simple guides. If the toe is still swollen and tender after two to three days of home care, consult a podiatrist or physician.
A podiatrist or physician will cut the nail into an angle toward the border rather than straight across. Without the proper equipment it is possible to heave minuscule segments of nail. These nail fragments may then grow, into the skin causing further infection. Sometimes an antibiotic may be needed to fight the infection.
Patients diagnosed with diabetes, poor circulation or peripheral neuropathy, which causes diminished feeling in the feet, should be especially vigilant because toe infections are stubborn and can easily spread to the bone.
Depending on the severity of the condition a podiatrist or physician may discuss surgery. There are several surgery options for toenails. The first is a toenail avulsion, where the toe is given a shot of local anesthetic. Once washed, the nail border or the entire nail is removed, depending on the extent of the infection.
If the nail is severely curved, the nail border should be removed. Using a surgical procedure, the nail matrix cells, where, growth originates, are destroyed. This usually takes from two to, six weeks for complete healing. These procedures are usually at least 90 percent effective in permanently removing the nail.
Feet do not end in a point so neither should shoes. To give toes maximum room, choose open?toed sandals in summer and splurge on a hip pair of clogs or square?toe oxfords for fall. Reserve high heels for special occasions only, if they must be worn at all. These are going to squeeze on nails and cause them to grow into the flesh and begin the process of infection.
Keeping nails and feet healthy can keep you healthy and
happy as well as we enter into this new millennium.
2005 © Patrick Farrell, D.P.M., Inc.