With the new school year approaching and summer coming to an end, many people will begin to embark on the back to school shopping trips. This time of year often means that the open toed sandals and flip flops are on their way out, and new sneakers or others closed toed, dress code appropriate shoes are making a return appearance on the feet of many school-aged adolescents. It is important when picking out your new kicks to be sure that they fit properly. It is not uncommon to begin to hear complaints of sore toes and toenails. Although seemingly simple, this could be the beginning of an ingrown toenail.
They are painful, they are unsightly, and they can be dangerous. Ingrown toenails can affect anyone with toes. Not even a clean bill of health will protect many patients from dealing with the complications of toenails growing awry. Many believe that tight fitting shoes are to blame, while others hold fast to the belief that they are inherited. No matter the source, there are a few things to know when faced with toenails that are causing pain at one or more nail borders.
First and foremost, do not let an ingrown nail go untreated. Although an ingrown toenail is initially able to be treated in a doctor's office, an infected nail that is not addressed by a physician could quickly progress to an infection in the bone. A bone infection, known as osteomyelitis, is a serious condition that often leads to a hospital stay and permanent, surgical removal of bone.
When treated promptly by a podiatrist, however, ingrown toenails are no big deal. At Frederick Foot and Ankle Specialists, an ingrown toenail requires nothing more than a simple office visit to have you pain free and back to wearing the shoes of your preference. Depending on the severity of the nail deformity, your podiatrist may recommend either a partial nail avulsion (PNA) or a total nail avulsion (TNA). For either procedure, your doctor will use a needle to inject local anesthesia into the affected toe to numb the area. Your doctor will then simply remove either a small amount of the nail, or the entire nail. Again, each patient is different and the decision as to how much nail should be removed will be made at the time of the appointment. Nail avulsions may either be intended to be temporary or permanent. If you and your doctor feel permanent removal of the nail, or part of the nail, is necessary, then your doctor will apply phenol to the exposed matrix to prevent the nail from growing back. Otherwise, you can expect to begin seeing new nail growth within a few weeks, with total return of the nail within a year.
There are numerous methods of at home remedies that have been tried over the years. Although soaking and cotton balls may provide temporary relief from time to time, these methods do not correct the problem and ultimately do not provide adequate relief. When patients try to remove ingrown nails themselves, a practice that physicians often refer to as "bathroom surgery," the risk of infection and dangers of complications increase tenfold. Instead of risking prolonged discomfort and complications, make an appointment with your podiatrist at Frederick Foot and Ankle Specialists located in Frederick, MD and Urbana, MD if you suspect that you may have an ingrown toenail. One office visit will have not only your symptoms alleviated, but the source of your pain will be properly treated in a sterile manner as well.