Ingrown toenails are a fairly common foot problem that we treat at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC but unfortunately it is also one that by the time we see it has often been made way worse than necessary due to misguided self treatment and “bathroom surgery.” A number of folk remedies abound that can actually cause more harm than good. Here are a few to avoid:
1. Cutting a notch in the nail—not only is this not an effective way of stopping a nail from becoming ingrown, it also has a high likelihood of resulting in an infection to the toe.
2. Placing cotton under the nail—pulling up the nail and pushing a piece of cotton underneath creates and ideal environment for bacteria to breed and also increases rather than decreases pain.
3. Using over-the-counter medications that numb the toe—although patients may experience temporary relief from pain, these treatments do not fix the problem. An ingrown toenail is likely to just get worse and also gives more time for an infection to develop.
4. Repeatedly trimming nail corners. This actually increases the risk of an ingrown nail because it makes it easier for the skin to flap over the nail and then the nail begins to grow back into the skin.
Getting the Right Treatment
Most patients, once they are treated by our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko, for their ingrown toenails wish they had come in sooner. First, the podiatrist will numb the affected nail and then gently remove the corner that has become ingrown. This procedure is way less painful than enduring the ingrown nail. Most patients are back in their shoes and resume their regular activities almost immediately. If you have an ingrown toenail that recurs, the foot doctor can apply a chemical to the nail root to stop it from growing back.
If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t suffer any longer. Contact our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) and make an appointment to get your ingrown toenail treated safely and properly.