An ingrown toenail happens when a nail grows into the skin fold around it. Usually, it occurs with only one side of the nail and most often affects the big toe.
If untreated, an ingrown toenail continues its growth trajectory under your skin. That can lead to increasingly serious symptoms and could even cause difficulty walking.
An ingrown toenail usually has the following characteristics.
Your symptoms can worsen dramatically as the nail continues growing beneath your skin. Infection is common with untreated ingrown toenails. In some cases, you may also grow granulation tissue — new abnormal skin that grows as a response to the severe inflammation.
Ingrown toenails may develop for a variety of reasons, including:
People who spend a lot of time on their feet, for example, police officers and teachers, are prone to ingrown toenails. If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor circulation in your legs and feet, you're more likely to experience infections with ingrown toenails.
For mildly ingrown toenails, the DeLoor Podiatry Associates team may lift the corner of the nail using a tiny splint. If you have a moderately or severely ingrown toenail, the team may perform a minor in-office surgical procedure to remove the embedded corner of the nail.
Recurring ingrown toenails may require a procedure to remove the ingrown part of the nail as well as the corresponding section of the nail matrix (the growth bed). Then, topical phenol prevents that part of the nail from growing back.
Ingrown toenail procedures are virtually painless thanks to local anesthesia, and you won't typically see a major difference in the appearance of your toenail.
For help with ingrown toenails, you can trust the foot pain experts at DeLoor Podiatry Associates. Call the office nearest you or use the online appointment scheduling tool.