Friday, December 5, 2014

Don't let an ingrown toenail slow you down!!!!

The Ingrown Toenail Blues

If you do not know what an ingrown toenail is be thankful.  If you "think" you know what an ingrown toenail is you probably do not.  People who have had an ingrown nail know the difference.  If hurts, bleeds, smells and ruins you white socks, you probably have an ingrown nail!  Very often the toe starts to, "bother you" and a week or two later you get one of these.  Most people spend weeks doctoring their toe before throwing in the towel and seeing the doctor.  But, from our experience, the more "bathroom surgeries" you perform, the worse this condition seems to get.  Below we will discuss some of the causes of an ingrown nail and our suggestions of the best way to get it better!

Why does one get an ingrown nail?  I tell everyone it is BAD LUCK.  Some people have an injury to the toe in some manner (kick something, drop a frozen chicken on it, or a clumsy dance partner steps on it). There are many causes of an ingrown nail but the two most common are trauma and aggressively trimming back the corner of ones nail. The definition of trauma is not someone hitting your toe with a bat! It is simply being in shoes that are too small and the toe continues to get beat up and the border of the nail ingrown in many instances.

But for our patients that are kids that come in sometimes it's their parents fault! That's right there was nothing you could have done to prevent it when there is a genetic predisposition for this condition.   Daily, I will see a child whose parents are explaining that "he cut the nail wrong and now here we are"!    I then ask mom and dad, "Have either of you ever had this problem before?" And guess what, most of the time one of them raises their hand.  I then have to opportunity to show the child whose fault this really is.  I explain that nails are like hair, (no really it is the same stuff) if you have straight or curly hair, no matter how you cut it, it grows back the same way.  (Not for me, but male pattern baldness is a whole different issue.)   Likewise, if you have a curly nail, no matter how you cut it it comes back the same way.

One of the most common conditions to walk into our office is an ingrown toenail.  People describe the pain as severe at times, and even describe difficulty sleeping due to the lightest touch like that of their sheet. Below are commonly described symptoms with an ingrown nail.
   The following symptoms may be present with ingrown toenails:
  • Pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Drainage
  • Odor
  • Prominent skin tissue (proud flesh)

At the Center for Ankle and Foot Care, just like in podiatrist offices across the country, we have a simple in office procedure that literally only takes minutes to correct your  problem forever! (Unless you start to wear bad shoes again!) 

Don't wait until it gets too bad to get in.  On the right you can see we only take a small portion of the nail.  So in most cases you can barely tell you even had this simple in office procedure performed! Once the nail is ingrown there are not too many things you can do for yourself at home to make this better.  Call your foot doctor and get in right away!

If you would like more information about our office or our doctors visit our website at

Article written by Timothy Henne DPM Center for Ankle and Foot Care, Inc Clermont FL 34711

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