Washington Nationals player, Bryce Harper, missed playing time last week due to an ingrown toenail. He even made headlines when he posted a picture of his toe and the removed toenail on Twitter. Many people may think that it is odd that he would be sidelined for such a condition. Many might view ingrown nails as a minor problem. However, an ingrown toenail can cause significant pain, and if it progresses on to an infection, serious problems can occur.
Ingrown nails can be caused by a variety of things: genetics, trauma or injury, shoe gear, and the person's foot structure or the way they walk. Ingrown toenails in athletes are common from bumping the toe with kicking, running, sliding, or when another player or object lands on the toe (example, jumping).
If the ingrown portion of nail cuts into the skin next to it, this often leads to infection. An infected, ingrown toenail will be red, hot, swollen, and often have pus or drainage. Additionally, there is typically significant pain.
As with the case of Bryce Harper, a physician must anesthetize the toe and remove the ingrown portion of nail. This allows the cut in the skin and related infection to clear up and heal. Oral or topical antibiotics, soaking, bandaging, and over the counter pain relievers are also used with the procedure to heal the toe. The best way to speed up healing after the procedure is to rest, elevate, and wear shoes that do not rub on the area.
If you have this condition, please call Advanced Physical Medicine to get an appointment with Dr. Bender. Dr. Bender finished her surgical residency training in 2001, and she has been practicing and teaching podiatric students and residents since then. She has offices in Oak Park (708-763-0580) and Chicago/63rd St. (773-776-3166).