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Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 145

Ingrown nails can be a severely painful condition that can be very disabling. It is estimated that 16,000,000 Americans have ingrown nails or other toe nail related issues (Penn Medicine) (Google public data). On top of the pain it can be extremely unattractive for anyone to see. The way this occurs is when the sides of the nail are curved and begin to grow into the skin. This usually occurs at the nail borders on the big toe but is also seen on all the other toes. As the nail border grows into the skin it irritates it causing it to become inflamed and swell. The swollen red area pushes on the nerve causing mild to severe pain. This can become even more abominable if the skin is breached. Once the skin has a break in it from the toenail bacteria is free to enter the wound and cause infection. The drainage and foul odor that can come from infections will cause even more discomfort and pain.

Ingrown nails come about for many different reasons. The tendency for nails to become ingrown can be inherited. If you have a family member who is fighting ingrown nails make sure you are taking preventative measures for your own nails. They can also result from a traumatic event such as dropping an object on your toe, stubbing your toe, and sports that have repeated kicking or running causing pressure on the toes (soccer, cross country, track and field, etc.). This debilitating condition can also occur from improper nail trimming like cutting the toenails too short. Improper shoes and socks can also be the culprit in causing ingrown nails. Shoes and socks that are too tight or too loose can cause pressure to the toe nails and surrounding skin. Other nail conditions such as fungal nails or losing a nail can also cause ingrown nails.

Preventative Treatments

Preventative treatments can be done at home as long as no infection is suspected.

1. Soaking your feet with room temperature water and massaging the side of the nail to bring down swelling can help prevent ingrown nails. If a doctor recommends Epsom's Salt soaks this will also help.

2. When you perform your own nail care at home make sure to cut the nail straight and not too short. A way to check this out is that you should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.

3. Wearing well fitting shoes and socks. Do not wear shoes that are too tight and small or too big and loose. These kinds of shoes can rub and cause excess pressure.

If an infection is plausible a physician should be sought for care. If a patient has any other conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation, or nerve damage your feet are at high risk for developing other problems. Professional foot care from a podiatrist should be sought in this case.

Correctional Treatments

Correctional treatments should be facilitated by a podiatrist.

1. Regular nail care done by a sterile professional can keep the ingrown nails at bay. The sterile professional will also keep the area clean so no infections will occur.

2. Another option for reoccurring ingrown nails is nail removal where the part of the nail is cut out after the area is numbed up by a doctor. A solution is then added to the area so that that part of the nail will never grown back.

3. Yet another option for your ingrown nail pain is laser treatment. This high tech approach is pain free and proven over and over again to be one of the best options.

Dr. Robitaille is a native of Montreal, Canada. She graduated from Barry University, School of Podiatric Medicine in Miami, FL with honors. Dr. Robitaille completed extensive foot and ankle surgical training at Emory Northlake Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Robitaille is a member of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons and is a faculty member of the prestigious Podiatry Institute. She speaks and lectures across the country on foot & ankle pathology and treatment. She is the owner and head physician of Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists in Savannah, GA with multiple offices throughout the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry.

Source: EzineArticles
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