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Posts for tag: ingrown toenails

During winter time we don’t spend a lot of time looking at our feet, as they are usually bundled up in thick socks and warm shoes, but there are certain things we always need to pay attention to. One of those things is our toenails. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows down into the skin, rather than outward as it’s supposed to. This condition is easily diagnosable since you can clearly see the skin growing over the nail. This may be accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, or even pus if infection is present.

 

Ingrown toenails occur on the big toe in nine out of ten cases, but other toes may be affected or even fingernails. Unfortunately, the majority of ingrown nails occur due to simple genetics. If you have larger-than-average toenails, but average size toes, this can lead to your nails growing down into the skin of your toe. People with particularly thick toenails or naturally curved nails may also be at higher risk of ingrown toenails. Although some ingrown nails may not be bothersome, secondary factors can exacerbate your condition to the point where you need to see a podiatrist.

 

READ MORE: Say Goodbye to Ingrown Toenails

 

One of the most common culprits of painful or infected ingrown toenails is improper nail cutting. Don’t cut your toenails too short, as this increases the chance they will grow into the skin. Nails should always be cut into a straight line, not a curve, to avoid edges progressing into the sides of your toe. Acute nail damage, such as stubbing your toe forcefully, can lead to misshapen nails that become ingrown. Ingrown nails may also develop if your toes are constantly squeezed together, either by tight shoes or conditions such as bunions that turn the toes toward each other.

 

Although cutting your toenail away from the skin might temporarily solve your problem, it will simply grow back the same way unless a surgical correction is made. Surgery is a scary word for most people, but fixing an ingrown toenail is a breeze and the procedure can actually be completed in a single office visit. First, a local anesthetic is applied, numbing the area so you remain blissfully ignorant to any feeling.

 

Next, the nail borders are removed; a fancy way of saying your nail is cut into a narrower shape and the folded skin is disconnected. In some cases, the entire toenail may be removed. Lastly, the nail matrix is chemically cauterized to eliminate the offending nail from growing back improperly. The matrix of your nail is the tissue it forms on and it is responsible for the length, size, and shape of the nail. The “cauterization” is actually just the application of a strong chemical that prevents the nail from growing back.

 

Almost all of our ingrown toenail treatments are done right in our office in a single visit (even if it’s your first visit). With a proper dressing and a loose (though protective!) shoe, most patients are able to resume normal activity within 24 hours, though extra care should be taken for several weeks while the toe heals. These procedures boast a 99% success rate with no ingrown toenail reoccurrence. Stop cutting away your painful ingrown nail and come see your podiatrist for a lasting solution. It’s really as simple as that.

 

READ MORE: Choosing Shoes to Avoid Foot Issues

August 21st is Senior Citizens day. After a certain age it seems there aren’t many milestones to hit before we start getting the senior citizen discount, but being a senior citizen can come with serious foot complications. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 seniors deal with foot problems needing medical treatment. Here’s a look at the most common foot ailments for those over 65 and some tips on how to keep your feet healthy before you reach that important milestone.

Bunions

As we know (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while), a bunion is a bony growth at the base of the big toe. Bunions are in actuality, a misalignment of the big toe joint, which means they will form very slowly over time from constant pressure. Of course, as senior citizens they have had plenty of time for these to develop. The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but can stem from trauma to the foot, genetic predisposition, or arthritis. Some bunions may have no symptoms whatsoever, but usually patients will experience tenderness, redness, and of course pain. Bunions tend to affect women more than men since tight high heels that squeeze the toes together are thought to contribute to bunion formation and symptoms. For seniors, bunions can represent a big problem, as they can either be a side effect of arthritis or even lead to chronic arthritic pain in the bunion. Some of the best ways to avoid bunion complications in later life are to make sure you are wearing proper footwear that gives your toes space, take care of existing bunions now before you develop pain, and take extra special care if you have genetic inclinations for foot deformities or arthritis. With proper care now, you can avoid bunions as a senior.

Toenail Problems

As we age, our aches and pains become more noticeable and many seniors have trouble reaching their feet. This can mean all sorts of things for your toenails. If you can’t see or never look at your feet you may miss all sorts of things such as fungal nails, ingrown toenails, and diabetic sores. Make sure you are washing your feet with soap; scrubbing lightly with pumice stone when necessary, and keep your toenails neatly trimmed. If you have trouble doing this yourself, don’t hesitate to visit our PediCare salon. It isn’t your standard pedicure; performed by certified medical nail technicians, this goes way beyond beauty. Basic service includes the One Half-hour PediCare: A no-frills service that includes toenail trimming, callus and corn reduction and the post-service application of moisturizer – $35. Take care of yourself now to maintain the healthy feet you need to carry you into your senior citizenship smoothly.

Arthritis and Diabetes

Sometimes old age can bring along some serious complications like diabetes and arthritis. Both of these diseases need medical attention as they have serious complications for you feet. Arthritis occurs from gradual wear and tear on the foot over a long time. In fact, out of all the age groups surveyed, the 65 and older crowd came in first with nearly 50% of participants reporting doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Pain, stiffness, and progressive foot deformities can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Diabetes progresses differently. Instead of your feet erupting in pain, you may slowly lose all feeling and have trouble distinguishing hot and cold or even be numb to painful wounds. Not only does diabetes cause loss of feeling, leaving foot ailments unnoticed, but it also cuts off full oxygen supply in the peripheral nerves making existing wounds slow to heal. Easy ways to combat these wounds is to manage diabetes through a plan with your primary care physician. Make seeing a podiatrist part of that plan. Check your feet, wash them well, use non-impact exercise, and fight existing foot ailments immediately.

The best way to ensure you remain, dancing, running, swimming, or even just lounging your way into old age is to take care of your feet early. We are taught to have annual checkups from a family physician, optometrist, and dentist. Why would you not add podiatrist to that list considering your feet are the foundation to a healthy life? Don’t wait until you start getting the senior citizen discount to think about your feet. Your feet will thank you.

Everyone loves new shoes and if you’re in the market for a pair, there are a few things you should be doing at the shoe store to make sure they fit properly and your podiatrist would approve.

  1. Stand Up

Everyone tells you to stand up at the shoe store and hopefully everyone does, but the main reason we want to do this is that our foot widens and lengthens slightly when we stand up. Force is calculated as mass x acceleration. When you stand up, the force that your body exerts on your feet causes them to change. Your toes extend forward and spread to support you while walking. If we don't give them enough room to do this, we can cause serious damage.

  1. Walk Around

Think about the activity you will be doing in your new pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s a fancy pair of high heels for a wedding. You’ll probably be sitting, standing, and dancing in these shoes all night, so you should stand up and wander around the store for ten minutes to make sure they are comfortable; maybe even break out a move or two. If it’s a new running shoe you need, go to a store with actual clerks who can evaluate your stride and help you pick a style. Places like the New Balance Store are set up to allow customers to easily jog around the store while trying on shoes. Whenever your style, make sure you get up and walk, jog, or boogie in those new shoes before heading to the checkout.

  1. Spread Your Toes

For those who may not remember, there are a myriad of problems we can get from our shoes cramping our toes. Bunions, corns, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails may be in your future if you don’t give your little piggies space to move. Many shoes come in multiple sizes, but not multiple widths. Get your foot width measured along with the length. If you have a wider foot, search for shoes that will accommodate you. Don’t try and fit into the average when you need something different.

While it may not feel like it, summer is just around the corner and that means it’s sandals weather. We want our feet to look their best so we need to make sure they are healthy. One unsightly (and painful) condition we should take care of is our ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edges of your toenail grow down into your skin rather than straight out. This usually affects the big toe, although it can happen to any toe, and is quite painful.

How do I know if I have an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are not fun. If you experience pain, redness, swelling, or unusual warmth in your toe, it could be an ingrown toenail. Some people may only experience slight discomfort and tenderness at the edges of the toenails. Even if your condition doesn’t seem that bad, the digging nail can cause ruptures in the skin through which bacteria can enter and lead to infection. Signs of an infection include spreading redness, changes in skin temperature, swelling, and pus around or leaking from the ingrown area. Some ingrown toenails can be treated at home, but it is still important that you see a podiatrist, especially if you see signs of infection or if you have other conditions such as diabetes.

Why did I get an ingrown toenail?

There are many causes of ingrown nails.

  • Improper trimming of the toenails. Nails should be cut straight across using a proper pair of nail clippers. Do not round the edges of the nails or if you do, do so only slightly with a nail file.
  • Wearing tight fitting or pointed toe shoes will press the toes together and put pressure on the nails. This can bend the nails, causing them to grow down into the skin.
  • Acute injuries or repetitive trauma to the toes can cause ingrown toenails. This is common among athletes such as soccer players.
  • Ingrown toenails also run in the family. Some families have more naturally rounded toenails and/or more upturned bones. These characteristics can lead to ingrown toenails.

What are my homecare options?

There are plenty of online tutorials that tell you how to deal with ingrown toenails. The fact is, while some of these remedies may help alleviate symptoms for a time, they will not solve an ingrown toenail and can actually make things worse. Take an over the counter pain reliever if needed to reduce swelling and discomfort. Another easy thing to do is to soak your feet in warm water. This can soften the skin around the nail, making it possible for you to gently massage the edge of the nail away from the skin. Do this several times a day, wrap the toe in fresh gauze, and make sure to wear shoes that give your toes plenty of room.

Do not try to cut your toenail! Repeated cutting of the nail will make things worse. Remember, when you see your podiatrist cutting your ingrown toenail, they are using specialized sterile tools and have years of training and experience. Doing it yourself in your bathroom at home is not the same thing. If you are a diabetic or have a circulatory disorder, do not attempt any home remedy. Make an appointment with your podiatrist right away.

What will my podiatrist do?

First, your podiatrist will evaluate your ingrown toenail and ask about the causes and symptoms. If the ingrown toenail is not infected and not severely ingrown, your doctor may be able to simply cut a small portion of the nail away and prescribe a topical treatment to avoid infection. A process called Partial Nail Plate Avulsion may also be recommended for those with chronic ingrown toenails. During this procedure, the doctor will inject the toe with an anesthetic and fully remove the side of the nail that is ingrown.

I just can’t stress it enough; your feet are a very important part of your overall health. Caring for them properly is essential. This means paying attention to them and treating any conditions that may arise. Even if an ingrown toenail seems like a little matter, it can lead to more serious health problems and put a damper on our summer sandal wearing. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, call to make an appointment today and we can get your feet looking pretty in no time!

Painful ingrown toenails are caused by the sides of the toenail curving into the flesh.  They are often ignored until they become red, swollen, and painful.  These occur primarily on one or both sides of the great toenails and the shoes often create pressure against them, especially if you must wear dressy heels or steel-toed work boots.  The painful nail border can be corrected permanently by a 15 minute procedure in your podiatrist's office under a local anesthetic. Don't wait until the nail border is infected! Avoid doing any trimming yourself as this only causes more pain and at best provides only temporary relief. Schedule an appointment to prevent the problem from ruining your work day.