An ingrown toenail can cause pain and inflammation of your toe when a part of your toenail grows into your soft tissue. Ingrown toenails are typically the result of improper trimming, however, they can also be caused by ill-fitting shoes. Not only do ingrown toenails cause pain, but they can also cause severe infections. Here are some interventions you can expect from your foot doctor (podiatrist) when treating your ingrown toenail.
Excise The Ingrown Toenail
In order to promote the healing process and relieve pain and inflammation, your foot doctor will excise, or remove, the ingrown toenail from the flesh of your toe. Before the foot specialist performs this minor surgical procedure, they will clean your toe with a special antiseptic agent and then inject the area with a local anesthetic. This will numb your toe so that you do not feel anything during the procedure. After the area is anesthetized, the piece of embedded toenail will be removed. If needed, stitches or sutures will be used to close the incision and then the area will be covered with a sterile dressing.
Topical Or Oral Antibiotics
Your foot doctor may also prescribe a topical antibiotic or a course of oral antibiotics to either prevent an infection or treat an existing infection caused by your ingrown toenail. If your doctor prescribed a topical antibiotic, you may need to apply it to the surgical area in between dressing changes. You may need to keep your toe covered with the dressing for a week or so and you may also need to change the dressing if it becomes soiled with drainage or blood.
If your podiatrist prescribed oral antibiotics, make sure to complete the entire prescription to help ensure that your infection resolves. In addition, depending on which type of stitches your foot doctor used to close your incision, you may either have to return to the office to have your stitches removed, or they will simply dissolve over time.
If you develop increased pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or a green or yellowish discharge coming from the affected toe, call your foot doctor as soon as possible. These may be signs of a wound infection and will need to be evaluated and treated.
If you develop an ingrown toenail, make an appointment with your foot doctor. Prompt podiatric care from your foot doctor will help reduce your risk of developing a soft tissue infection and permanent damage to your nail bed or nail matrix.
For more information, contact a local foot doctor.
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