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Dealing with Ingrown Toenails

Oh, no. The big toe on your left foot has a very sore and reddened area on the side of the nail. Even putting on your socks hurts, never ingrown toenailmind donning those dress shoes for the work day. What's happened here? You could have an ingrown toenail. Your Alexandria, VA foot doctor, Dr. Angelo Pace, see numerous ingrown toenails at Advanced Pace Foot and Ankle Center. He'll know how to help.

Symptoms of ingrown toenails

The Institute for Preventive Foot Health estimates that a full 40 million Americans have had one or more ingrown toenails. That's a lot of discomfort. So what does this common foot malady look like?

Dr. Pace says he sees people of all ages with ingrown toenails in his podiatric office. Symptoms vary a bit, but mostly, patients present with sore, reddened toenails that have pushed into the skin at the corner of the nail. Sometimes swelling and pus, indicating advanced infection, is present, too, and the nail itself may be pulling away from the top of the toe.

Treatments and prevention in Alexandria

An ingrown toenail usually warrants a trip to your foot doctor's office where he will examine your foot and ask about your symptoms. He may prescribe an oral antibiotic to alleviate infection, and he may trim back the part of the nail that is intruding into the surrounding soft tissue. Depending on the specifics of your case, Dr. Pace may remove a vertical portion of the nail with a simple treatment called partial nail plate avulsion.

At home, be sure you always trim your nails straight across with clean clippers. Wash your feet each day, and wear clean, well-ventilated shoes and socks. While ingrown toenails depend in part on foot structure, heredity and repeated wear and tear (as with sports), clean feet are less prone to athlete's foot fungus (Tinea pedis). This pesky microorganism loves dark, moist environments and creates the itching, burning, blistering, and yes, ingrown toenails common to athlete's foot.

Additionally, wear good shoes. Avoid dress shoes that are too tight and narrow, especially in the toe box. Alternate different pairs, and throw out overly worn shoes as they can create pressure points and throw off your gait.

See your foot doctor right away

If you have symptoms of an ingrown toenail, see our Alexandria, VA podiatrist, Dr. Pace. He'll get you comfortable, healthy and moving again.