Summary of Chapter 18
Success in life is about placing one foot in front of the other, enjoying the journey, and having no expectations about the outcome.– Dr. Suzanne Levine
Maggie, a 39-year-old magazine editor, had a pedicure at an upscale nail salon. Though she left with perfectly polished pink toes, unbeknownst to her, she also left with an ingrown toenail that would become infected. A few days later, her big toe started to throb. She soaked it in warm water and applied Bacitracin, an over-the-counter antibiotic. Her toe didn’t get better, but it didn’t get much worse until about four months later when Maggie noticed red, swollen tissue coming out of the area where the nail was infected. Finally, she sought help from a dermatologist who did a biopsy. The results revealed that she had a pyogenic granuloma (small, raised, red bumps on the skin).
Formally known as onychocryptosis, an ingrown toenail is one of the most common nail issues. It typically occurs on the big toe, but all toes are at risk. In severe situations, an ingrown toenail can make it painful to walk and if you suffer from any condition that causes circulation problems, such as diabetes, an ingrown toenail can turn into a more serious situation and therefore you must consult your doctor.
Faulty foot mechanics may be another culprit. For example, if you have flat feet, your big toe and forefoot are more likely to roll inward when you walk, which will increase the pressure on the nails and create ideal circumstances for an incurvated toenail. The shape of your nail plate can also increase your risk of an ingrown nail. For example, if your toenails do not naturally lie flat in their beds, but appear more convex or curve down or are abnormally thick, you are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail. Excessive sweating can also put you at risk for ingrown toenails as can repeated injury to the same toe.
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine discusses:
- What is an ingrown toenail?
- What causes an ingrown toenail?
- How do you treat an ingrown toenail?
- How can you prevent ingrown toenails?
- Real Patient Recap: Maggie learns the hard way that early and correct treatment would have prevented nearly a year of pain and expense. YIKES.