There is no question about it. You have dug on that ingrown toenail one too many times and it has just about had it! It is swollen and red and painful and you just can’t get it out this time. Where do you go from here? Well, to your podiatrist by golly!
An ingrown toenail is a toenail that simply looks like it is digging into the skin surrounding the nail (aka, into the “nail fold”). Ironically, you can have a nail that looks ingrown but is not painful. That is perfectly ok! It is the nail that decides to step it up a notch and cause irritation to the nail fold that becomes a problem! Squeezing your toes into the stilettos seen at the royal wedding may just provide all the irritation it needs to get the ball rolling!
If you have ever had an irritated ingrown nail, you know what I am talking about. It feels like absolute self-induced torture trying to dig those out with your handy-dandy nail clipper. If the clipper or the toe is not clean enough, you can end up inviting all the nasty critters for a visit and end up with a nastier infection.
Trust me on this one. If you have had to dig out an ingrown nail several times a year, it will not go away the longer you fuss with it. It is riskier to keep fussing with it than getting over to your podiatrist office to have it taken care of. What does that mean? Well, for one, it means cleaner and more precise instruments, expertise and resolution to the problem. That means you likely won’t get it back for the rest of your life with one visit!!
A podiatrist can perform what is known as a “matrixectomy”. The “-ectomy” part of that term means “removing” and the “matrix” part of the word means the nail root in question. We, in essence, remove the portion of the nail root that is growing the portion of nail getting ingrown. It is very precise; removing only what is needed to keep the nail from getting ingrown and leaves the remaining nail intact. For the most part, once it is healed with a little TLC on your part, it never looks like anything was ever done! Only a very small percentage of nails try to grown back in the section removed. Overall, a very, very successful permanent result to your chronic problem!
Leaving an ingrown nail to get infected is leaving it too long! An antibiotic will only work to temporarily relieve the symptoms. As long as the nail is growing into the skin, you will continue to have the problem. Don’t wait to get in to see your podiatrist at the first signs of discomfort. I have seen too many 60-year-old patients saying they wish they would have done this 20 years ago. Don’t let this be you!