We know it’s never a pleasant situation but our compassionate staff at our Valley Stream podiatry office understand how painful an ingrown toenail can be and urge you to seek treatment before it gets any worse. Ingrown toenails are a common condition in adults and occur when the skin grows over your toenail, or the corner of a toenail grows into the skin. Ingrown toenails cause pain and swelling and if left untreated, they can lead to infection. Some cases of ingrown toenails can actually be treated at home but our Valley Stream podiatrist, Gary B. Feldman, DPM, should be consulted immediately if home treatments fails and you feel your ingrown toenail is infected.
Our toenails are made of a hard protein called keratin and they cover the nail beds on our toes. Our toenail has a root that extends under your skin and the toenail grows very slowly. Normally, it will take a toenail a year or more to grow out and replace itself. Although all toes can be affected, ingrown toenails usually occur in the big toe. Ingrown toenails can be a result of wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight in the toe area. Our Valley Stream podiatrist will explain that the pressure from a poor fitting shoe causes the toenail to grow abnormally and overly tight fitting socks can have the same effect. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by poorly shaped toenails and Dr. Feldman recommends that toenails be trimmed straight across and not rounded. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected and those infections can lead to abscesses that will require surgery. These infections are especially concerning for people with diabetes, poor circulation, HIV, or those receiving chemotherapy.
Ingrown toenails cause pain and the skin surrounding your toenail may look red, have some mild swelling, and the skin on your toe may feel warm to the touch. Once the ingrown toenail becomes infected, the redness and swelling will become worse and a white or yellow colored discharge may drain from the area. Our Valley Stream podiatrist can diagnose an ingrown toenail by examining your toe and will want to know about any medical conditions, allergies, medications, and the date of your last tetanus shot. Dr. Feldman will give you a general physical examination and determine if the area is infected. The ingrown toenail can be trimmed or corrected right with our Valley Stream podiatrist, Dr. Feldman will safely remove the excess skin around the toenail. Antibiotics can be prescribed to prevent further infection and in more severe cases, surgery, laser surgery, or chemicals can be used to treat an infected or ingrown toenail