When the corner of your toenail curves into the underlying skin it can be quite painful. Ingrown toenails (also called onychocryptosis) is a very common complaint for Dr. Tarr.
This is most commonly seen on the big toes, however may happen on any toe. This is usually caused from improper cutting or wearing ill fitting shoes. When trimming your own nails it is very important to cut straight across, never cut at an angle in the corners. This would leave a very sharp point that likes to dig into the flesh as it grows out. If the nail corner makes a hole in the skin, this lets dirt and bacteria get in and may lead to an infection.
If no infection is present Dr. Tarr may try to alleviate pain by removing part of the toenail in the corner. Sometimes this requires a little local anesthetic. If the problem becomes persistent the corner of the nail may be permanently removed, thus curing the problem. This procedure, called a matrixectomy, is performed in the office and only takes about 30 minutes. Patients tend not to complain of much discomfort afterwards and it does require dressing changes daily for about 3 weeks.
If you suffer from ingrown toenails please call Dr. Tarr at either Sudbury Podiatry or Westford Podiatry for an evaluation.