Don't Ignore Your Ingrown Toenail

Last week we began a discussion on ingrown nails in the spirit of National Foot Health Awareness Month. While this is a very common condition effecting 26% of the population, in a select few the repercussions can be very serious. Diabetics, especially, should not take ingrown nails lightly. They should be evaluated by a podiatrist before penetration of the skin, and especially before any infection sets in.

Infection can be detected by a sharp increase in pain, redness, swelling, and/or tenderness over the skin on the effected side. Certain patients may require further workup prior to treatment if certain causes are suspected. While we discussed the most common causes of ingrown nails last week, persistent ingrown nails may actually be caused by rare (and sometimes serious) underlying issues. Obviously, the underlying cause will need to be treated to avoid the ingrown nail returning.

Just to give you an idea of the diversity of symptoms that can present similar to an ingrown nail, here is a list of nonthreatening conditions: bone cyst, bone infection, wart, fibroma, neurofibroma, fibrokeratoma, myxoid cyst, pyogenic granuloma, glomus tumor, keratoacanthoma, or a bone spur. Malignant lesions (those that could be cancerous) include: squamous or basal cell carcinomas (both are forms of skin cancer), Bowen disease, melanoma (a more aggressive form of skin cancer), and of course bone cancer.

The likelihood of an ingrown nail being anything more than an ingrown nail is quite rare; however, here at Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, I am trained to spot the unusual presentations. That is another reason why you should have your ingrown toenails treated by a podiatrist.


Nicole M. Castillo, DPM

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