Are you struggling with an ingrown toenail? At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, Dr. Esther Sue Barnes treats ingrown toenails, as well as a wide variety of other podiatric health conditions. Read below to learn how she can help that toe of yours feel better and look normal once again!
Symptoms of ingrown toenails
Typically occurring on the big toe, an ingrown toenail invades the skin surrounding the nail. Symptoms include:
- Pus (if infected)
- Trouble walking
- Changes in the shape of the nail
Causes of ingrown toenails
How do ingrown toenails happen? Experts at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that ingrown toenails, also called onychocryptosis, stem from a variety of factors, including:
- Heredity (some toenails are simply too large for the size of the big toes)
- Pressure from shoes that are shaped incorrectly or are too tight
- Mechanical trauma (stubbing the toe or dropping something heavy on it)
- Clipping the corners of the toenail at an angle instead of straight across
This last factor causes most cases of ingrown toenails which Dr. Barnes sees in her Kalispell clinic. So, she cautions all her patients to trim their nails correctly--straight across the toe--with a clean, sharp clippers.
Treating ingrown toenails
Simple, at-home remedies sometimes take care of ingrown toenails which are just starting to show symptoms. Soak your foot three to four times a day in warm water to soothe soreness and soften the skin around the nail. Gently lift the nail out of the skin using dental floss. Change the floss every day. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
More advanced cases of onychomycosis may need in-office surgery at Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic. During this procedure, Dr. Barnes removes the affected side of the toenail from top to bottom (under locally-injected anesthetic, of course). This procedure is called partial nail avulsion and allows the nail to grow back straight and not embedded into the skin around the nail. Regrowth takes a few months.
Ingrown toenails can be very sore, and have the possibility to disrupt your day-to-day activities. People with diabetes should additionally be careful, as onychomycosis is especially dangerous for those with the condition. If you need treatment, please call Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic's Kalispell office for an appointment with Dr. Barnes. Phone (406) 755-2818 today!
UPDATE 3/23/20: In attempt to maintain the safety of our patients, employees, and the community, the office is physically closed, other than for the care of patients with urgent concerns / emergenices only. Attempts will be made to return phone calls Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. Please use the "Request an Appointment" resource above to request an appointment. If an established patient, we encourage you to log into the Patient Portal and send a message to Dr. Barnes or the office with any questions or concerns. Thank you.