Cutting Out Pain: Ingrown Toenail Treatment

When you’re living with ingrown toenail pain, the problem will only get worse with time—unless you treat it. The right treatment can offer immediate relief and help control the problem in the future. Exactly what that treatment is, though, will depend. There are several options to eliminate an ingrown nail.

Ingrown Nails Recap

Ingrown toenails develop when one edge of a nail curves or grows more to the side, so it pinches or pierces your soft skin instead of growing straight forward. This can happen for a variety of reasons—your nail might be naturally inclined to grow that way, or an injury could contribute to it, or even an infection like fungal nails could distort the keratin. Poorly-fitting shoes pressing on the nail are one of the most common causes. Unfortunately, the ingrown edge will continue to grow wrongly, causing pain and putting you at risk for infections, unless it’s treated.

Your Treatment Options

There are multiple ways to handle an ingrown nail depending on how advanced it is. Mild conditions might be able to be treated with conservative methods. The more the nail has grown into your skin, however, the more likely you will need a minor procedure to remove the painful edge.

  • Conservative care – This involves trying to lift the edge of the nail so that it grows straight and over your skin, instead of curling into it. This is only helpful in the early stages of ingrowing. The offending edge will be lifted and held up with a kind of “splint,” like floss or cotton. You’ll need to soak your foot in a foot bath to help with inflammation and pain, as well as replace the splint every day to prevent infections.
  • Partial nail removal – Once the nail has grown more into your toe, the curved edge will have to be removed to relieve the pain. First your toe will be carefully numbed. Then the ingrown edge will be cut and removed. Only the keratin will be affected, leaving your nail bed and the rest of your nail intact. This allows the hard tissue to regrow over time—hopefully more straight than before.
  • Complete nail removal – This is a more involved surgery to remove a severely ingrown nail, particularly a repeat offender. Your toe will be numbed, then the ingrown keratin and nail bed tissue below it will be entirely removed. If you’re prone to ingrown nails, the procedure will probably include a special treatment to prevent your nail from growing back to eliminate the problem once and for all.

If you suffer with repeatedly ingrown nails on the same toe, it may actually be best to prevent that edge from growing back, so it cannot continue to harm your toe and cause you pain.

Choosing the Right Care for Your Toes

Ultimately the best way to take care of your ingrown toenail is up to you and your foot health team. Dr. Tim Barry and our specialists at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper will examine your painful toe and help you decide what treatment method will be best for your individual situation. Just as importantly, we’ll work with you to help prevent the problem from recurring in the future.

You don’t have to live with ingrown nail pain. The right treatment can eliminate the painful edge quickly and effectively. With a little proactive care, you can potentially prevent the problem from coming back, too. So don’t wait until you’re limping to get help for your toe. Contact Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper in Jasper, IN, for an appointment today. Simply call (812) 481-7200 or use our online information request forms.