An ingrown toenail is due to the penetration of the edge of the nail plate into the soft tissue of the toe.
There are several causes of ingrown toenails including a genetic tendency, improper cutting of the nail, and wearing ill-fitting shoes. The way you walk can also increase pressure onto the side of the toe and eventually cause the root of the nail to form a curvature that can become ingrown.
An ingrown toenail typically begins with a painful irritation that often becomes red and swollen and may develop drainage or pus. In people who have diabetes or poor circulation, this relatively minor problem can become quite severe.
What we can do to help you solve this problem
If you have an ingrown toenail, we recommend that we see you as a patient. Bathroom surgery does not typically resolve this problem and ingrown toenails tend to be a chronic condition.
Most commonly, we will recommend a simple procedure called a chemical matrixectomy to permanently correct your ingrown toenail. This is a relatively painless procedure that can be performed in our office. To perform this procedure, we will numb the toe with a local anesthetic. Once the toe is numb, the nail margin is removed and the nail root in this area is destroyed with a special chemical called phenol. It may take a few weeks for the nail margin to completely heal, but there are generally no restrictions in activity, bathing, or wearing shoes. A resumption of sports activities and exercise is generally permitted the following day. There are very few complications associated with this procedure. Re-occurrence of the ingrown toenail occurs only a small percentage of the time with this procedure. A chemical matrixectomy can also be performed on toenails that are severely thickened and deformed. The entire nail can be removed and the chemical is simply applied to the entire root to prevent the return of the nail. Learn more about ingrown toenail surgery.
The skilled doctors at Council Bluffs Foot & Ankle Care are experts in the management of ingrown toenails. If you are suffering with an acute or chronic ingrown toenail, we can provide a permanent solution for this painful condition.