Specialists in Podiatry in Racine, WI Treat Ingrown Toenails

When a toenail is ingrown, it curves and grows into the surrounding skin, typically at the nail border or the sides of the toenail. This type of digging of the toenail irritates the adjacent skin, creating redness, swelling, pain, and warmth in the toe. If an ingrown nail breaks the skin, bacteria may enter the wound and infect the toe, causing both drainage and a foul smell. Even if the toe is not swollen or in pain, a nail that curves down into the skin can lead to developing an infection.

How Nails Become Ingrown

Specialists in podiatry in Racine, WI explain the causes of an ingrown nail. They state that ingrown toenails can form as the result of heredity, a trauma (such as stubbing the toe), or improper trimming (cutting the nails too short). Ingrown toenails can also evolve from improperly-sized footwear. A fungal infection can also cause a nail to become ingrown.

Podiatry treatment for ingrown toenails can be reliably performed at home. However, treating the condition outside a podiatrist’s office is discouraged if an infection is suspected. It is also ill-advised for anyone who has a medical condition such as nerve damage in the foot, diabetes, or poor circulation.

Lukewarm Water and Epsom Salt

If you don’t have an infection, podiatry specialists recommend that you soak your foot in lukewarm water and Epsom salt. Gently massage the nail fold to lessen any inflammation. Avoid cutting the nail as doing so can aggravate the condition.

If your symptoms do not improve, you will need to schedule an appointment with a podiatry professional. After the doctor examines the toe, he or she will recommend a treatment plan. Should an infection be present, an antibiotic will be prescribed. Minor surgery performed in the doctor’s office can eliminate the offending nail. If the nail grows back ingrown again, then it will necessitate surgery to remove the root of the nail.

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