This usually very painful condition occurs when the nail grows into the skin of the toe or when the skin grows over the nail. Either way, it can be very uncomfortable and although it can occur on any toe, it is most commonly found on the big toe.
Often treatment can be non-invasive and handled with OTC products, but if the pain is severe and spreading it might be infected and and if you have diabetes or any other condition that affects blood circulation, it is time to consider the surgical options offered by our specialists at JAWS Podiatry.
Specific Symptoms And Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Indicators of ingrown toe nails include: significant pain and tenderness; inflamed skin; swelling at the site and infection.
They can arise as the result of a number of factors, some of which are preventable, such as:wearing ill-fitting shoes that crowd the toenails; cutting nails too short or not straight across.
Other factors include: having very curved toenails, injuries to nails, infections and certain medical conditions.
What Are The Risk Factors of Ingrown Toenail Surgery?
There are certain behaviors and natural conditions that put a foot at risk for the development of an ingrown toe nail.
In the case of adolescents, their feet tend to perspire more than adults, which causes a softening of the nail and the skin around it.
Improper nail care, such as cutting the nails too short or rounding the corners, directs the nail to grow directly into the skin.
If an individual is unable, for whatever reason, to care for his or her nails, they should entrust this chore to a certified podiatrist, as neglect can easily lead to the unwanted formation of an ingrown toenail.
Activities that involve running or kicking can put all toes at risk for injury and secondary conditions, such as diabetes, can be problematic because they are often associated with a poor blood flow.
5 Prevention Tips To Avoid Ingrown Toenail Surgery
There are definite ways to prevent the need for ingrown toe surgery, and they include the following suggestions:
1. Maintain Toe Nails At A Moderate Length
Always trim toe nails so that they are even with the tips of your toes. Keeping them too short increases the possibility that shoe pressure on the toes can force a nail to grow directly into the tissue.
2. Trim Toe Nails Straight Across
Never curve nails to match the shape of the front of your toe. This may seem like a good idea in the moment, but it can easily lead to the development of a painful ingrown toe nail. Always trim nails straight across.
3. Avoid Ill-Fitting Shoes
Shoes that pinch or put too much pressure on your toes can cause a toenail to form into surrounding tissue. Be extra careful if you suffer from any type of nerve damage to your feet, as this can make it difficult to discern if your shoes are too tight.
4. Wear Protective Footwear
Steel-toed shoes are recommended to those whose daily activities may put them at risk for toe injury.
5. Always Check Your Feet
This is especially important if you suffer from diabetes or any other condition that might affect the blood flow to your feet.
When Is Ingrown Toenail Surgery Necessary?
Ingrown toenails can often be treated at home with over the counter products, and not all instances require surgery.
If, however, the nail becomes infected, this can be very dangerous, as there is the threat of it spreading to the rest of the foot, which can have serious ramifications for a patent suffering from a secondary medical condition.
An infection, as well as affected skin and tissue, can be treated once the ingrown toenail is removed. This will also resolve pain and tenderness, and bring about a return to normalcy for a patient who can now wear shoes comfortably and resume daily activities.
Some Conservative Options For Ingrown Toenails
There are numerous non surgical choices that are most commonly recommended by the experts at JAWS Podiatry. Selection depends on numerous factors including the severity of the condition.
The following conservative treatments are the most successful in treating an ingrown toe nail.
Lifting The Nail
This is a common option when dealing with a slightly ingrown toe nail. It involves carefully lifting the ingrown nail edge and placing dental floss, cotton or a splint underneath it. This encourages the nail to grow above the skin’s edge by separating the overlying epidermis.
This process requires patience, as it can take anywhere from two to twelve weeks for results to occur. Home care is also required, as the affected toe and whatever material was placed under it needs daily replacement.
This procedure can also be done without this this daily ritual. If this option is desired, the surgeon can use cotton coated with a solution that both fixes the material in place and is waterproof.
Taping The Nail
Considered the least invasive of all conservative strategies, this method involves the use of an adhesive elastic tape (about 15-20mm wide and 5 cm long) that serves to pull the lateral nail fold away from the ingrown toenail.
Use Of A Gutter Splint Under The Nail
In this procedure, which is known to relive the recurring pain of an ingrown toe nail, the experts at JAWS Podiatry numb the toe, after which a tiny slit tube is inserted underneath the embedded nail.
This device is stationary and is not removed until the nail has grown above the skin’s edge, which can take from 2 weeks to 3 months. A recent study noted that this procedure is highly effective, and that 62 study participants who underwent this procedure experienced no reoccurrences.
Generally speaking, surgical strategies have much better results in terms of preventing reoccurrence than non-surgical options.
We rely on either one of two approaches to correct an ingrown toenail. One targets the nail plate itself and the other focuses on the lateral skin folds that surround the toenail.
Usually, the former is the cause of it all and the preferred procedure is a “wedge resection,” which concerns the removal of the affected sector, which will serve to prevent that part of the nail from regrowing and will permanently reduce the width of the toe nail.
Removal of the entire toe nail is a painless surgical procedure officially known as Nail Plate Avulsion. This is highly recommended in the instance of severe infection.
Matrixectomy is a painless procedure in which the surgeon removes not only the nail border but also a small portion of the nail bed itself.
The entire toe is anesthetized, after which the process takes just a few minutes to complete. Painful, troublesome portions of the nail are removed with instruments that are specifically designed for this particular surgery.
Aftercare and Recovery From Ingrown Toenail Surgery
In the case of full toenail removal, it can take from several months to year for the nail to grow back.
Ingrown toenails can occur again, and surgeons usually recommend wearing a post-operative shoe for at least a week after surgery.
This will help the toe heal more easily, which in most instances should require about a week. This can vary, however, depending on the severity of the condition and which procedure was performed.
A pain reliever is recommended if needed after the numbness wears off. A wet compress applied every day for a few minutes until the swelling recedes can ease healing. Elevating the toe and resting as much as possible for the first 24 hours is also helpful.
We are a highly acclaimed, cutting edge surgical matrix is situated in Hollywood, Florida. Headed by South Florida’s top-rated and highly acclaimed podiatrist, Dr. Abraham Wagner, he and his superior staff are experts in all inclusive foot and ankle care.
For patients residing in anywhere in Florida, the United States or beyond, we specialize in a myriad of surgical procedures for all of our patients and we do our best to attend to their specific needs.
All professional surgeons consider surgery as a last resort, and our collective focus at JAWS Podiatry always reflects a passion for providing help, the relief of pain and a positive, nurturing foot and ankle treatment experience.
If you are suffering from foot pain of any kind, contact our caring experts at JAWS Podiatry today. We’re here to help!
For more information on nail surgery and procedures,
please contact JAWS Podiatry at 954-922-7333.
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