Although they can start out as a small nuisance, ingrown toenails can become a real problem if left untreated. Caused by a segment of the toenail that embeds in the skin around the nail, an ingrown toenail is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and a feeling of warmth in the affected toe. If the nail digs into the flesh around the nail and causes the skin to break, bacteria can enter, resulting in an infection. The infection can increase the level of pain in the toe and create additional problems.
While some people are prone to ingrown toenails and others are caused by improper nail trimming techniques, ingrown toenails can also be caused by trauma from repeated impact or stubbing the toe. Treatment for minor ingrown toenails can often be done in the home if you are in good health and if no infection is present. Soaking the foot to soften the skin and massaging the affected area can loosen the troublesome part of the nail.
If inflammation is chronic or intermittent or if infection occurs please call our office. In many cases a permanent correction of the offending portion of nail is necessary. To accomplish this task a small 2mm. to 3mm. portion of the nail is separated and removed from the main body of the nail. The exposed root or matrix is then made nonfunctional with phenol. The procedure is without pain as a local anesthetic is used to block nerve conduction.