Ingrown Toenails / Onychocryptosis

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are extremely common to see in all age groups. An ingrown toenail occurs when the border of toenail starts to dig into the adjacent skin. This leads to irritation, significant pain, and possibly infection.

Some risk factors include improper toenail cutting, irritation from tighter fitting shoes and trauma. Certain foot deformities like a bunion can put increased pressure on the inner aspect of the big toe leading to increased risk for an ingrown toenail.

Although antibiotics are very effective at treating infection associated with an ingrown toenail, the ingrown section of toenail is not relieved by antibiotics alone.

A number of procedure exist for treating an ingrown toenail. One option is to numb the toe so there is no pain and then remove the border that is digging into the skin. This is called a partial nail avulsion and the procedure is commonly performed in the clinic setting.

If an ingrown toenail is chronic or a repeat offender then a more permanent procedure can be performed. The edge of toenail is removed and then a chemical is applied to the root to kill the cells that give rise to new toenail. The end result is a toenail that is slightly narrower and it decreases the chances of the ingrown toenail coming back. The success rate for this procedure is very high.

Mildly ingrown toenails can be treated with soaks, topical antibiotics and possibly oral antibiotics.

Please check out this blog article written by Dr. Nodelman on why this diagnosis can be dangerous if not treated appropriately.

If you are concerned about an ingrown toenail, it is important to establish care with a qualified foot and ankle provider.