An ingrown toenail is when the nail grows too far into the skin causing an abrasion or opening in the skin which can become painful, inflamed, and secondarily infected. This can occur in any toenail, but it is most commonly found in the great toe.
Causes generally include injury, inappropriate trimming of the nail, nail fungus, genetics, and, rarely, tight shoes. It is usually found in patients between ages 15-40 years, and it is seen in men to women 3:1.
Treatment for mild pain and nail incurvation can include a slant back procedure which removes a small edge of the nail at the end of the toe. Anesthesia and bandages are generally not needed. Cotton padding along the nail edge and or soaking the toe in lukewarm espom salt water is another conservative method that can decrease inflammation and help improve healing.
When the nail is severely incurvated or an infection is present, a partial nail procedure is warranted. During this procedure, the toe is anesthetized and a sliver of nail on the side of the toe is removed so that the offending nail edge does not grow back. This procedure can be performed the day of consultation, and the patient is able to walk immediately after and return to normal activity once the numbness of the toe resolves.
It is important to seek medical treatment if pain and inflammation do not resolve with conservative management in order to prevent infection. At PACI, we commonly see and treat patients with ingrown toenails. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 513-474-4450.
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