An ingrown toenail is simply a curving of the nail border into the flesh of the toe. When the pressure from the curved or deformed nail becomes excessive, the underlying skin or tissue is pierced or opened and this provides entry for harmful bacteria. It is common for bacteria to be around the nail without an infection. However, when the skin breaks and these bacteria enter the area, a bacterial infection begins. Ingrown nails can also result from the development of fungus in the nails which cause deformity and secondary bacterial infection. Some people will not get an infection initially but will just have pain and redness.
Signs of an infection include pain, redness, swelling, foul odor and yellow drainage. Many people develop ingrown toenail infections on a regular basis. These are often treated with soaking and antibiotic pills. Typically, these treatments only provide short term relief.
If the infection has been present for a long period, x-rays may be taken to make sure there is no bone infection. Bone infection is a serious problem and must be treated in other ways. Also, those with poor circulation can develop gangrene from an infection. It is highly recommended that the patient with these conditions seek early treatment to avoid more serious conditions.
Generally, ingrown nails present problems multiple times over a period of months or years. Initially, there is pain and redness which then results in infection.
Why some treatments provide only temporary relief:
Why is only short term relief provided with these seemingly strong treatments? While there is an infection present, it can not be healed without draining the infection or abscess from the side of the toe where the nail is piercing the skin. This piece of nail acts as a foreign body and must be removed for proper healing.
Unfortunately, many people seek treatment for these problems and are treated for months with antibiotics and never heal until they see a Podiatrist for removal of the piece of nail and drainage of the infection. The removal of the nail portion and drainage of the infection should actually be the first treatment received. All other treatments, including antibiotic pills or creams and soaking, are secondary to what is known as incision and drainage or drainage of infection.
Treatments are often done by you, the patient. This is known as "bathroom surgery" and is often performed with various homemade instruments. Often relief will be obtained but eventually many patients end up seeking professional help due to excessive pain and infection.
It should be noted that often after drainage of the infection, oral antibiotics are not always necessary. The problem with taking antibiotics over and over for this condition is that the bacteria modify themselves so that the antibiotic no longer works and antibiotic resistance is the result.
How can I get permanent relief from Ingrown Toenails?
Assuming that the infection is controlled and circulation is adequate for healing, there are procedures to remove the ingrown nail permanently. Normally only a small portion of nail is removed, not the complete nail. The result is cosmetically pleasing once full healing has occurred. There is a 95% success rate!
There are several methods for the permanent procedure. The most common method is using a chemical for the destruction of the nail root or growth area, also known as the matrix. Common chemicals used include phenol and sodium hydroxide.
After removal of the abnormal nail portion, the chemical is then used to destroy the root. A light bandage is applied. Care at home is simple and recovery involves cleaning the area and applying antibiotic cream. Most people have minimal pain after the procedure. Some redness, swelling and clear drainage are normal for several weeks to a month depending on the individual reaction to the chemical. There are rarely complications, however, as with any procedure you physician will review possible complications.
So, there is no need to suffer with ingrown nails when you can have this procedure. The procedure is safe and performed in the office with a local anesthetic. The procedure takes about 10-15 minutes.
Dr. Katz prides himself on compassion and concern for all patients. Dr. Katz specializes in foot infections, wounds and minor in-office procedures. Dr. Katz treats all foot, ankle and leg conditions. For more information see: www.thetampapodiatrist.com, www.tampacryosurgery.com
Outgrow For Ingrown Toenails
Don't delay ingrown toenail treatment, you don't have to live with the pain. There are answers, and they are simple, when the toenail is first aggravated, and becomes more complex the nastier the infection. In diabetics and those patients with poor circulation, an ingrown toenail can lead to a toe amputation. Seek treatment when it is a minor annoyance! Almost everyone, at one time or another in their life, has suffered from an ingrown toenail. Often, this first occurs during adolescence, but can occur at any age. The toenail curves into the skin, causing redness, irritation and pain. Most kids don't complain until their toe is swollen, red, and dripping pus! Don't worry, Mom, they hide it until they can't stand the pain anymore. Some older kids (yes, I mean you!) do the same thing with their spouses.
What causes ingrown toenails? You can blame Mom and Dad for having slightly deformed toenails from birth. It can also occur from trauma, shoe pressure and toenails that are improperly cut; usually too short Onychomycosis or fungus in your toenails can also cause ingrown toenails and tight or narrow shoes can also be to blame.
Simple tips for controlling ingrown toenail:
1. Treatment for ingrown toenails can be as easy as reducing the pressure on the skin by trimming the toenail (with sterile instruments, not in your bathroom!)and then as the toenail grows, encourage the skin away from the leading edge.
2. Try a shoe with more toe room or a bigger toe box.
3. Clean the area with antibacterial soap and apply antiseptic once a day
4. Soak your toe for 15 minutes in Epsom salt and warm water, then cut the nail straight across (do not dig in the corner) and gently massage the skin away from the nail. Remember that the old wives tale of cutting a notch in the toenail rarely works
If this doesn't work, call your podiatrist (not your pedicurist!) and make an appointment. Don't wait until the pain is so bad that you dread even putting your shoe on.
Surgical solutions are commonly needed because most people will delay care until the toe is significantly infected. Surgical decompression of the infection, with removal of the nail spicule, is usually needed; followed by a permanent nail ablation procedure utilizing a chemical, laser, or other technique to remove the nail root in chronic cases. Antibiotics are often prescribed and local wound care is needed to treat the surgical wound and infection after surgery.
Even in the worst cases of ingrown toenails, most people are back to activity in just a few hours or days depending on pain tolerance and the extent of the infection. Rarely is the infection so severe that hospitalization and IV antibiotics are needed to prevent toe amputation.
Bottom line: seek medical attention early in the case of ingrown toenails. Repeated nail trimming in your bathroom leads to significant deformity and infection of the nail. Call or contact the office for an appointment. Don't mess around with ingrown toenails!
Both Marc Katz & Dr Marybeth Crane are contributors for EditorialToday. The above articles have been edited for relevancy and timeliness. All write-ups, reviews, tips and guides published by EditorialToday.com and its partners or affiliates are for informational purposes only. They should not be used for any legal or any other type of advice. We do not endorse any author, contributor, writer or article posted by our team.
Marc Katz has sinced written about articles on various topics from . Dr Marc Katz is a Board-certified Tampa Podiatrist that provides innovative cutting edge techniques for foot pain relief. . Marc Katz's top article . Bookmark Marc Katz to your Favourites.
Dr Marybeth Crane has sinced written about articles on various topics from . Dr Marybeth Crane is a board certified podiatric foot and ankle surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Your feet should last a lifetime! For more foot health tips, a copy of her FREE BOOK and doctor-approved foot care products, visit her. Dr Marybeth Crane's top article . Bookmark Dr Marybeth Crane to your Favourites.
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