Ingrown toenails can become a painful nuisance that can affect us throughout the day. An ingrown nail is when a side of the nail starts to grow into and irritate the skin. This can cause pain and redness. There are a variety of reasons that they can develop, like cutting your nails improperly opposed to straight across, after nail trauma, or some people naturally have more curved nails than others. These can be especially painful in shoes and eventually become infected if left untreated. So what can be done?
If the ingrown toenail is minor, than your doctor may be able to trim the offending edge to give you some relief; however, by the time most people come in with an ingrown toenail it is past the point of a simple trim. The next option is what is called a partial nail avulsion. What this normally entails is your doctor numbing up your toe to help take away discomfort, so that the portion of the side of the nail that is ingrown can be removed all the way back to where the nail starts under the skin. If you are someone who has had recurrent ingrown nails on the same toe, than a chemical can also be used to help prevent that portion of the nail to grow back ingrown. After the procedure you may have some mild discomfort once the numbing medicine wears off, which can be controlled with Tylenol or anti-inflammatories. Your doctor will usually have you soak your toe over the next couple days and cover the area with a Band-Aid. Sometimes, especially if the toe is infected, your doctor may put you on a course of oral antibiotics.
–Dr. Colleen Law