Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ingrown Nails Got You Hanging?

If you have an ingrown toenail, you can relate when I say the pain and discomfort is beyond aggravating. Trying to find comfortable shoes is sometimes impossible. But what do you do about an ingrown toenail? Do you try to cut it out with a toenail clipper? Will it be there forever? Some people are scared to seek medical attention because they think they will have to get their nail removed. Though sometimes this is necessary, it is rare that it one will have to lose their entire nail.
An ingrown toenail is a nail that digs into the skin and cause pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes infections. It can be cause by genetics, trauma, or improper trimming. Stubbing your toe or dropping an object on your toe may result in an ingrown toenail. Many people cut their nails too short. This encourages the skin to surround the nail and the nail can then pinch the close confiding skin.
When you first notice the problem, there are some at home treatments to reduce the inflammation and pain. Soaking your foot in luke warm water with Epson salt may reduce some of the symptoms. Wearing wider shoes that decreases the pressure applied to the area will also help with the pain. It is highly discouraged to try to remove the ingrown portion of the nail yourself. Continuously cutting the nail inappropriately will worsen the condition. These areas are highly susceptible to infection. Thus at-home surgeries of the nail can be very dangerous. If you continuously feel discomfort from your toenail, it is recommended to see a foot and ankle doctor, also referred to as a podiatrist.
A podiatric physician can do a simple in office procedure to remove the offending nail border. The nail will continuously grow to be ingrown unless the matrix or the root of the nail is destroyed. When only the outside border is causing problems, the doctor can remove that portion of the nail and only kill the root of that area of the nail. Thus you will still have a nail but a small portion will be removed and will not grow back. Those concerned with cosmetics will be happy to know that the removal of the border of a nail often goes unnoticed by others when the condition is minor. If there is a serious infection present, the root of the nail will not be killed due to the reaction of the chemicals used with the infectious tissue. The nail border is removed and the injury is allowed to heal until the tissue is healthy to undergo chemical insult.
Though some need to undergo more invasive surgeries to remove the matrix, most have their problems solved by a simple 15 minute visit to the doctor. The most important thing to do is to keep your hands off your toenails. Do not try to pick at it or cut it because a small problem can become a big problem if you do not remove of it correctly.