It is no surprise that larger and more noticeable deformities on our feet such as hammertoes, bunions, or blisters can cause significant discomfort. However, it is important to keep in mind that even our toenails, if not taken care of properly, can be painful and irritating. Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a nail (usually the one on the big toe) grows sideways into the surrounding skin, often resulting in redness and swelling from infection.
Most often, an ingrown toenail is caused by:
· Wearing footwear that is too tight around the toes
· Cutting toenails too short
· Sustaining an injury that cracks your toenail
· Attempting to rip off a hangnail instead of trimming it properly
· Having a genetic predisposition to ingrown toenails (blame your parents!)
Sometimes, your body can fight off the infection from an ingrown toenail on its own and you can clip out the sharp edge yourself, but most cases require the assistance of a podiatrist. The treatment is relatively quick and painless, and can be done in the doctor’s office during your visit. First, the doctor will numb the affected toe. Then, the doctor will cut out the nail margin and nail root to remove the source of discomfort. This may make the nail narrower than usual, and it may take a few weeks for it to grow back entirely, but in general, you will be free to resume normal activities with few limitations!
Ingrown toenails can affect anyone, but individuals with diabetes and poor circulation should be extra vigilant, as small cuts and infections can become major issues. The doctors at the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston have years of experience performing this simple ingrown toenail procedure. They will have you in and out of the office and on the road to recovery in no time. If you would like to request an appointment for foot and ankle ailments such as heel pain, plantar warts, and more, contact us at (281) 444-4114 and we will help decide which of our six offices in the North Houston area is most convenient for you!