Ingrown toenails are a major nuisance for millions, and can lead to significant tenderness, discomfort, and sharp pangs of pain whenever your toe bumps up against the front of your shoe. This common condition occurs when, rather than growing out, the edge or corner of a toenail (usually on your biggest toe) digs sideways into soft flesh. Severe ingrown toenails can even lead to a nasty infection, which can be especially dangerous for those with diabetes.
You can often identify an ingrown toenail with a simple visual inspection. Common symptoms include pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, and pus (if there is an infection).
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails can be caused by a number of factors—some genetic, some external. Some of the most common include:
- Cutting nails improperly. Unlike fingernails, toenails should never be curved, and never cut too short. Instead, cut straight across, leaving the corners slightly beyond the tip of the toe.
- Tight shoes. Narrow, pointed toe boxes that press on toes can push the nails inward, causing them to dig into the surrounding skin.
- Direct injuries. A painful stub, dropping something on your foot, or other traumas can lead to an ingrown toenail.
- Genetics. Unfortunately, some people are simply more prone than others to developing ingrown toenails. For example, as a result of having nails that are naturally more curved than others. If parents or siblings suffered with ingrown nails, there’s a greater chance you will, too.
Fixing Ingrown Toenails with Radiowave Treatment
Traditionally, podiatrists have used chisel-like blades to carefully cut the toenail near the affected edge to remove the ingrown portion of the nail. We do something similar at our office, but using an improved procedure known as radiowave treatment. This offers many benefits versus traditional ingrown toenail surgery.
Ingrown toenail removal is performed under a local anesthetic only, from the comfort of our office. You won’t need to “go to sleep” or go to the hospital, and you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
We use a tool capable of precisely cutting the toenail using high frequency radio waves, in a manner similar to laser surgery. The problematic edge of the toenail is then carefully trimmed and removed, so it is no longer digging into the skin. We’ll finish by bandaging your toe and making sure you have any medications you need, such as antibiotics if the toe has been infected.
Radiowave offers many advantages when compared to traditional ingrown toenail surgery:
- Incisions can be made more quickly, with greater precision
- No scar tissue is produced, since no manual cutting of the skin is required
- Less drainage is produced
- Fewer bandages are required
- Faster healing and quicker return to wearing normal shoes
- Lower risk of post-surgical pain or complications
- Lower rate of recurrence
If ingrown toenails are continuing to come back and cause problems for you even after they have been treated, we can also perform a small additional procedure that will permanently prevent you from growing new nail tissue along the problematic edge. Since only a small fraction of the nail matrix is affected, this can still look quite natural, and should provide a more lasting solution to ingrown toenail pain.
Comprehensive Ingrown Toenail Care in Garfield Ridge
Dr. Daniel Walters and his team in Garfield Ridge, Chicago provide comprehensive care for ingrown toenails, helping you get back on your feet quickly with a healthy, pain-free toe. In addition to providing advanced radiowave treatment to fix the problem, we can also help you establish preventative care strategies, too.
To schedule an appointment with us, please call (773) 586-0050. You can also request an appointment online by completing our contact form.