Are you dealing with a painful toenail? It could be an ingrown toenail.
Any ingrown toenail happens when the edge of a toenail, typically the big toenail, grows into the skin. As you might imagine, it can be pretty painful (but if you have one, we certainly don’t have to tell you). If you suspect you might have an ingrown toenail but are unsure, here’s what you should know, including telltale signs of one.
Why Do Ingrown Toenails Happen?
There are many reasons why you could be dealing with an ingrown toenail. Of course, one of the most common causes is not trimming your toenail correctly. Didn’t realize there was a right and wrong way to keep your toe? Well, there is! If you trim your nails too short or cut them at a curve (rather than straight), you may be prone to developing an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails can also happen if you’ve recently injured the toe (even stubbing your toe counts) or if your shoes are just a little too tight.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?
If you have an ingrown toenail, the first symptom you may experience is foot pain around the affected nail. The area may also be red, swollen or tender to the touch.
When Should I Call My Foot Doctor?
While soaking the toe and allowing it time to heal (you better stop wearing those tight-fitted shoes during this time!) can often be all that’s needed to manage your symptoms until the nail is healthy again, some circumstances warrant visiting us for care including,
- When at-home measures haven’t improved your symptoms within three days
- When the pain gets worse (this could be a sign of infection)
- When the toe becomes severely swollen, is warm to the touch or begins to drain pus
- If you have nerve damage in your feet, diabetes or circulation problems
If in doubt about whether you may be dealing with an ingrown toenail, call your podiatrist to find out if your symptoms warrant coming in for a consultation. If you develop increased redness and pain, fever or skin that’s warm to the touch, these are signs of an infection, and it’s important that you turn to your foot doctor immediately.
Prone to ingrown toenails? Here’s what you should know…
Let’s take a look at how to protect your ingrown toenails and when it’s time to turn to a podiatrist to treat this common foot problem,
Wear Properly Fitted Shoes
While this might seem obvious, you wouldn’t believe how many people try to cram their feet into shoes that bunch up their toes and put pressure on the nails. If you wear shoes like this, it’s time to stop. Shop for shoes with a large toe box; you should be able to wiggle your toes when wearing your shoes. Looking for new shoes? Go shoe shopping in the afternoon or evening when your feet are at the largest (yes, feet often swell throughout the day).
Trim Your Nails the Right Way
Yes, there is a right way to trim your toenails, and if you find yourself dealing with ingrown toenails throughout the year, then your trimming technique could be to blame. While you want to trim your toenails regularly, you want to ensure you aren’t trimming them too short. The nails should be level with the tips of your toes; any lower, and you risk ingrown toenails. You also should never cut or trim the edges of the nail into a curve; nails should always be cut straight across.
Protect Your Feet
Are you a powerlifter or an athlete? Do you pound the pavement or work on a construction site? Suppose your daily routine, workout or work is labor-intensive and prone to injuries. In that case, you want to ensure you wear the proper protective footwear to prevent bars, beams and other hard objects from hitting your foot, as injuries to the nail can also lead to ingrown toenails.
Know When to See a Podiatrist
While ingrown toenails can often be managed with home care, there are times when you will want to see a podiatrist for treatment. It’s time to turn to a podiatrist if,
- You have diabetes, and you develop any foot problems, including an ingrown toenail
- Your ingrown toenail becomes severely painful, swollen or red
- Pus or drainage is coming from the toenail
- You don’t know if you’re dealing with an ingrown toenail or not
- You don’t see an improvement in your symptoms within a day or two of home care
Dealing with ingrown toenails? Your podiatrist can provide your feet with the treatment they need to prevent further issues. Call yours today.
Turn to a podiatrist to find out more about orthotics and their benefits
If you are dealing with sore, tired, and achy feet you may be wondering whether you should turn to a podiatrist for custom orthotics. Custom or prescription orthotics are far more effective than those over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all orthotics you’ll find at your local drugstore. Luckily, podiatrists craft orthotics to fit your needs and your feet, so they are tailored to you. Here are the types of custom orthotics that are available.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are in-shoe devices that help to correct structural abnormalities within the foot that may impact how the foot, ankle, leg, and hip function. Prescription orthotics are specially crafted by a foot and ankle specialist to correct issues you’re dealing with, manage symptoms and improve movement overall.
What are the types of custom orthotics?
Orthotics are categorized as accommodative or functional,
These types of orthotics are most often recommended for those who are dealing with injuries, pain, and other similar problems that may require additional cushioning and support. These orthotics are typically made from a soft, flexible material, making them more about comfort than functionality (even though they may be able to control abnormal movements, as well). Accommodative orthotics are often best for,
- Calluses and corns
- Diabetic foot ulcers or diabetic feet
- Arch support
- Heel pain
- Chronic pain
This orthotic is made from a semi-rigid or rigid material, making it the ideal option for correcting faulty biomechanics and gait issues within the feet. Functional orthotics can help stabilize the foot and ankle and may be an ideal option for athletes as well as those who are prone to tendonitis, bursitis, hip pain, and shin splints. Of course, if you aren’t sure which type of orthotic is right for you, you should speak with your podiatrist.
What goes into getting orthotics?
Before getting custom orthotics, your podiatrist will need to perform a comprehensive assessment of the foot, ankles, knees, and hips to understand what structural or functional issues you’re dealing with. This examination is straightforward and non-invasive. From there, a plaster cast of your foot will be made to help craft your custom-fitted orthotics. Once your orthotics are ready, you’ll come back into the office to have them fitted.
Most people can benefit from custom orthotics. If you want to find out which type of orthotics are right for you and how they could support your feet, talk with your podiatrist today.
Learn more about ankle pain, how to treat it and when to seek professional care.
It should go without saying that if you are dealing with ankle pain, it isn’t something that you should ignore. Whether you noticed it while walking off the field after a game or noticed that the pain has been getting gradually worse over time, it’s important that you turn to your podiatrist to get some answers.
What are some common causes of ankle pain?
An injury to the muscles, bones, and ligaments of the ankle is usually the most common cause of pain. Other causes include,
- Broken ankle/foot
- Achilles tendinitis
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fracture
- Sprained ankle
When should I see a doctor?
Even minor issues that may go away on their own may first present with pain. While trying at-home remedies and care to help alleviate your pain is often a great first step, it’s important that you seek immediate care from your foot doctor if you have,
- Severe pain or swelling
- A severe malformation or deformity
- Open wound
- Cannot bear weight on your foot
- Notice that the foot is red, warm, or tender to the touch, or you have a high fever (these are all signs of infection)
- You have ankle pain or other symptoms, and you have diabetes
While you won’t need immediate attention you will still want to come in for care if you experience ankle swelling that doesn’t go away after several days of at-home treatments or ankle pain that hasn’t gotten better within a week of rest and home care.
How is ankle pain treated?
When you turn to a podiatrist, they will perform a physical examination and run imaging tests to diagnose the cause of your ankle pain. Your diagnosis will also help us determine your treatment plan. Of course, many patients that are only dealing with minor issues can often eliminate their symptoms with these self-care options,
- Avoiding certain activities
- Icing the ankle
- Wearing compression bandages
- Elevating the foot and ankle above your heart
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen
Experiencing ankle pain isn’t normal. If you are experiencing new or worsening ankle pain, or pain resulting from an injury, it’s best to turn to a podiatrist as soon as possible for care.
Are you dealing with a nasty case of plantar fasciitis?
Heel pain is a frustrating little problem, especially if you are someone who values their morning run or daily exercise routine. Even if you aren’t what you’d call an avid exerciser, you may still find that your heel pain makes moving around and going about your day more complicated than you would like. A podiatrist is the best medical specialist to turn to when heel pain becomes an issue.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes inflammation within the thick band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs the length of the foot along the soles from the toes to the heels and provides the arches of your feet with support and shock absorption. Unfortunately, microtears within the tissue can occur gradually over time (common in runners), leading to irritation and inflammation.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Those with plantar fasciitis may notice that their heel pain is at its worst first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting or standing. The tricky thing is that the pain often subsides throughout the day, making you think you can get in your run or regular workout routine after all. The only problem with that is that the heel pain often comes back with a vengeance after exercising. Along with heel pain, you may also notice painful or aching arches.
When Should I See a Podiatrist About My Heel Pain?
We know that no one wants to make an unnecessary trip to see their podiatrist unless the situation warrants it. Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or nerve damage in your feet and you are experiencing heel pain or any symptoms, it is important that you always seek immediate medical care to prevent the issue from getting worse.
While most healthy individuals will be able to handle their heel pain on their own, it’s also important to know when you need proper and more comprehensive care from a podiatrist. It’s important to turn to a podiatrist right away if you have severe pain, pain that makes it impossible to walk or put weight on the foot, numbness or tingling in the heel or foot, or heel pain caused by an injury.
If at-home care isn’t easing your heel pain after five days, then you should also give us a call so that we can create a more effective treatment plan for you.
Don’t let heel pain drag you down. If you are having trouble managing your symptoms and they are impacting your everyday activities and quality of life, it’s time to schedule an evaluation with a podiatrist.
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