Santa Monica podiatrist answers common questions about ingrown toenails:
How do ingrown toenails happen?
Ingrown toenails commonly present in all age groups. Usually they present with a red swollen area along the side of the toe. They may or may not present with drainage from the site, but they are painful.
Why are ingrown nails so painful?
Due to local irritation of the skin along the toe nail, usually the area will swell. The local swelling increases the pressure of the skin against the solid nail plate, creating greater irritation of the soft tissue. A vicious cycle. The more you walk with an ingrown toenail, the greater the chance of the area becoming more irritated and painful.
Assuming you have an ingrown nail, how should you address it?
Usually begin by soaking the foot/toe in warm water for 10 minutes twice a day. Follow this with application of a topical antibiotic and a band aid. If the discomfort and swelling continues or increases, you need to see your local podiatrist (foot doctor).
When should you go see your podiatrist?
Assuming the symptoms don’t resolve and you go to your doctor, the treatment is fairly straight forward. The source of the irritation has to be removed. As we have already noted, the source of the irritation is the nail. Is it bothering the skin because of its shape, or because of the way it was trimmed? Only you know for sure.
What will the foot doctor do to get rid of the problem?
Usually, the doctor will numb the toe at its base. Once the area is numb, the offending portion of the nail is removed from the area. Rarely is it necessary to remove the entire nail plate. If this is a problem that frequently presents, often the portion of the nail that is the irritant is permanently removed through a quick surgical procedure that is performed in the office, called a matrixectomy.
For an appointment with a doctors at one of our nine Southern California locations please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.
Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),
Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
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