Youth and Adolescent Ingrown Toenails
March 13, 2013 Posted by Dr.ChangA large number of young patients visit us for help with their painful ingrown toenails. Typically, these children and adolescents are in a considerable amount of pain and discomfort, and have already sought treatment from their pediatrician multiple times. Pediatricians can prescribe oral antibiotics and other temporary fixes, but, ultimately, the most effective and long-lasting treatment comes from an experienced podiatric specialist. Podiatrists are trained in minimally-invasive procedures to treat the vast majority of ingrown toenails, and are able to do so with the best results and the least amount of pain involved. An ingrown toenail is a curved nail that grows into skin around toenail borders. Basically, the nail doesn’t fit its border, and the sharp edges of the nail gradually grow into the skin around the nail, irritating the skin. Ingrown toenails start out as tenderness when pressure is applied to the outside of the nails. They lead to redness, swelling, warmth and pain in the skin around the nail. If an ingrown nail breaks the skin, bacteria can easily enter and cause an even more painful infection in the area. Ingrown toenails have various causes. Contrary to popular belief, they are more often hereditary than caused by incorrect nail maintenance or clipping, especially among younger populations. Second to heredity, pediatric ingrown toenails commonly result from improperly sized footwear, such as wearing socks or shoes that are too tight, or from repetitive activities, such as kicking and running, that involve repeated pressure on the toes. Causes also include trauma, such as stubbing the toe, having an object falling on it. In more rare cases, ingrowns result from improper trimming such as cutting the nails too short, encouraging the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. Other nail conditions such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma, certain medications, and a deepening of the nail groove due to obesity, can also cause ingrown toenails. A number of highly effective treatment options are available to patients with ingrown toenails. While copious material is available on the Web for home-treatment, such as soaking feet in Epsom® salt, using antibiotic ointment, using ingrown nail medications such as Outgrow®, or cutting the nail in certain ways, these treatments almost always provide only temporary relief from pain: these products do not prevent or heal ingrown toenails. Ultimately, the nail continues to cause problems until a specialist can remove the part of the nail that is causing the problem. At Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle, we perform a minimally invasive procedure, removing 15% of the offending nail border. Cosmetically, nails end up looking normal, and healthier, and, more often than not, patients never again have ingrown toenail problems. The key to successful treatment is early intervention and this kind of specialized treatment from your podiatrist. Be sure to communicate with your children what they should expect in the podiatrist’s office, and from ingrown toenail treatment. Ingrown toenail surgeries take place in the podiatrist’s office. Local anesthetics are used to anesthetize the entire toe, which will last for approximately eight hours. Once the toe is anesthetized, there is no pain involved with performing the actual procedure, and the procedure takes only minutes. The nail border, and sometimes the root of the nail, is removed with the treatment best suited for each person’s individual case. The foot is then lightly bandaged. Most patients experience minimal pain after ingrown toenail procedures, and are able to resume normal activities after one day, and most do not even need a follow-up appointment. If an infection is present, an antibiotic may be prescribed. In fact, most patients are so surprised by how easy the procedure is that they wish they had come in much earlier to get their ingrown nail problem fixed! After the surgery, and in everyday life, proper nail maintenance routines are important to prevent further incidence of ingrown toenails. Be sure not to cut notches into the nail, since they are proven ineffective: notches do not to reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward. Do not repeatedly trim nail borders, because this will not change the way the nail grows. Do not place cotton under the nail, because it will not relieve pain and can increase the incidence of infection by providing a place for harmful bacteria to grow. Also, remember that foot maintenance is paramount for patients with diabetes or other secondary nerve or circulatory problems. If you or your children have such problems, be sure to consistently seek help from a trained medical specialist for routine podiatric care. Ingrown toenail procedures are easy and highly effective; so don’t postpone making an appointment with Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang at Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle. As in the case with most medical conditions, remember that the earlier the symptoms are treated, the more successful the outcome. So visit us at Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle to help you solve your ingrown toenail problems. Comment on this post to share your story or contact Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle. We’d love to hear from you! Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic Charlottesville Podiatrist Location: 887 A Rio E Ct., Charlottesville VA, 22911 (434) 979-8116 Waynesboro Podiatrist Location: 417 S. Magnolia Waynesboro,VA 22980 540-949-5150 Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic has been a part of the Waynesboro and Charlottesville communities for over 20 years. Podiatrists Dr. Kevin Murray and Dr. Stewart Chang offer services in sports podiatry, foot and ankle problems and diabetic foot care. Our friendly, accommodating team of Certified Podiatric Medical Assistants look forward to welcoming you to our practice.