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Ingrown Toenails Causes and Treatments

By Dr. Thomas F. Bembynista, DPM

Ingrown ToenailsAlmost all of us have had a problem with an ingrown toenail once in our lives. This common condition, where the side of the nail grows into the surrounding skin, causes redness and usually excruciating pain that causes any use of the foot to be unbearable.

When To Seek Immediate Care
Most patients find that even their most comfortable shoes become unwearable once the ingrown nail presses into the skin. When signs of a chronic condition such as swelling and pain along the side or end of the toe or a yellowish drainage and severe redness appear, you must seek immediate care.

Cause of Ingrown Toenails
The cause of ingrown toenails can be attributed to either heredity or improper cutting. Toe and nail shape can contribute to chronic ingrowth making it necessary to have a more permanent solution which will be discussed later. Whether one does their own nails or has pedicures, it is important to remember that the nail should not be trimmed too close and that the instruments used are sterile. Should the nail be trimmed improperly, start by soaking it in Epsom salts followed by an application of an antibiotic cream. If the condition does not show any improvement within a couple of days, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Two Types of Treatment
If professional treatment is necessary, there are generally two ways to treat it. If this is the first time that you have had this occur, we can numb the base of the toe, trim out the ingrown nail and sometimes have you take an oral antibiotic. If the nail is a recurrent problem, the toe can be numbed at the base so that the corner of the nail can be removed by chemically destroying the growth center. Normally performed in the office, with little down time, this procedure has been very effective in alleviating future problems for those who suffer from persistent ingrown nails.

Specialists in Foot and Ankle Problems
Podiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle problems. Our education is a four year medical education focused on problems affecting the foot and ankle, followed by a surgical residency. Podiatrists need to have expertise in orthopedics, radiology, general problems of the foot, and surgery.

Our practice treats problems of the foot and ankle including Heel Pain, Bunions, Morton’s Neuroma, Ingrown Toenails, Warts, Nail Fungus and Plantar Fasciitis. We use advanced techniques such as Shockwave, Platelet Rich Plasma Injection (PRP) and Laser Nail Fungus treatments.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment for any of the problems listed above, go to or call our main phone number at 816-461-7755. We have offices conveniently located in Overland Park, Independence, Kansas City North and Midtown.

Thomas F. Bembynista, DPM
Dr. Thomas Bembynista has been in practice for more than 30 years. He speaks across the country and develops webinars for the treatment of nail fungus and other foot and ankle problems. He attended Illinois Benedictine College and Illinois College of Podiatry Medicine. He completed his post-doctoral training and residency at Lakeside Hospital. Dr. Bembynista is Board Certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and offers expert, professional podiatric services, focusing on  patient care and responding to his patients’ needs.

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