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Dr. William D. Tenney Podiatrist
Even after so many years of practicing foot care, it still amazes me to find how many people believe that having tender ingrown toenails is acceptable. Toenails should never hurt; not in shoes, not from the pressure of the sheets in bed, not even occasionally. Fingernails don’t hurt and neither should toenails.
It is commonly believed that tight shoes or improper nail trimming causes ingrown toenails. Not true. An ingrown toenail is caused by a change in the shape of the nail and is frequently an inherited problem. I often hear a patient recall that other family members have suffered from the same problem.
Some people even believe that it is okay to treat tender toenails at home by “digging them out.” This of course is not an acceptable practice and can actually make the problem worse by further damaging the nail or even creating an infection.
The good news is that tender, ingrown toenails can be easily and permanently cured with little or no discomfort. It takes only about ten minutes. A few drops of local anesthetic is administered, the offending piece of nail is removed, and a small amount of medicine is applied to the area to prevent the problem from coming back. The patient goes home in their own shoes to resume their regular activities.
The most frequent comment that I hear from my patients following this procedure is, “I don’t know why I didn’t have this done sooner.”