When the problem is more than just an ingrown toenail

Ingrown toenails can be painful, annoying and sometimes even debilitating. If you have been dealing with the discomfort of an ingrown toenail for a while without relief, it may be time to consider that the cause of your problem could be something other than an ingrown toenail. 

A bone spur under the nail can feel like an ingrown nail and is a common cause of persistent foot and toe discomfort. This blog post will provide information about the causes, treatments, symptoms, and how Shenandoah Podiatry can help when the problem is more than just an ingrown toenail.

Understanding Bone Spur Under the Toenail

When it comes to foot and toe discomfort, ingrown toenails are often the first thing that comes to mind. However, there is another common culprit that can cause similar symptoms - a bone spur under the toenail. 

A bone spur is a bony projection that forms on the surface of a bone, often in response to repeated stress or pressure. When a bone spur develops under the toenail, it can push against the surrounding tissue, causing pain and discomfort that can easily be mistaken for an ingrown toenail.

Treating bone spurs under the toenail typically involves addressing the underlying cause of the bone spur. At Shenandoah Podiatry, we specialize in diagnosing and treating foot and toe conditions, including bone spurs under the toenail. Our experienced podiatrists will thoroughly examine your feet, discuss your symptoms, and recommend an individualized treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Causes of Bone Spurs Under the Toenail

Bone spurs under the toenail can develop due to a variety of factors. Here are some of the most common causes. 

  1. Repeated stress or pressure on the toe
    Repeated stress or pressure on the toe, such as from wearing ill-fitting shoes or participating in activities that put excessive strain on the feet. Over time, this repeated stress can cause the body to produce extra bone in an attempt to protect the area.
  2. Trauma or Injury
    Trauma or injury on the toe can be the result of stubbing the toe, dropping something heavy on it, or even wearing shoes that are too tight. In response to the injury, the body may form a bone spur as part of the healing process.
  3. Certain medical conditions 
    Some medical conditions can also increase the risk of developing bone spurs under the toenail. For example, arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, can cause the bones in the toes to rub against each other, leading to the formation of bone spurs.
  4. Hereditary
    In some cases, bone spurs under the toenail may be a hereditary condition. If a family member has experienced this issue, there is a higher chance that you may also develop bone spurs.

It's important to consult with your local podiatrist, such as the experienced professionals at Shenandoah Podiatry, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. We can help identify the cause of your bone spur under the toenail and provide effective treatment options to alleviate your discomfort and improve your quality of life.

Symptoms of Bone Spurs Under the Toenail

If you have a bone spur under your toenail, you may experience a range of symptoms that can be similar to those of an ingrown toenail. One of the most common symptoms is pain. The pain caused by a bone spur under the toenail can be sharp and intense, especially when pressure is applied to the affected area. You may also notice swelling and redness around the toenail, as well as tenderness to the touch.

In addition to pain, you may also experience difficulty walking or wearing shoes comfortably. The presence of a bone spur can cause discomfort and make it challenging to engage in daily activities. It's also possible to develop corns or calluses around the affected toenail, as the bone spur can create friction against the surrounding skin.

Treatments for Bone Spurs Under the Toenail

When it comes to treating bone spurs under the toenail, the primary goal is to address the underlying cause of the bone spur and provide long-term relief from the discomfort. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual's unique circumstances. Here are some common treatment options that your podiatrist at Shenandoah Podiatry may recommend:

  1. Orthotic Inserts
    Using orthotic inserts or custom-made shoe inserts can help relieve pressure on the affected area. These inserts are designed to provide support and cushioning, reducing friction and alleviating the pain caused by the bone spur.
  2. Footwear Modifications
    Changing your footwear can also make a significant difference in managing the symptoms of a bone spur under the toenail. Opt for shoes that provide ample room for your toes and have a cushioned sole to absorb shock. Avoid tight-fitting shoes or high heels that can exacerbate the discomfort.
  3. Medications
    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with bone spurs. Your podiatrist may prescribe NSAIDs or recommend over-the-counter options to provide temporary relief.
  4. Minimally Invasive Procedures
    In some cases, if conservative treatments are not effective, your podiatrist may suggest a minimally invasive procedure to remove the bone spur. This procedure involves a small incision and is performed under local anesthesia. It allows for targeted removal of the bone spur, providing long-lasting relief.

It's important to consult with your local podiatrist to determine the best treatment approach for your specific case. Don't let a bone spur under your toenail hold you back. Take the first step towards finding relief by scheduling an appointment with Shenandoah Podiatry today. Our dedicated team is committed to helping you alleviate your discomfort and improve your quality of life. Trust us to provide the expert care you need to get back on your feet.

Dr. Jennifer Keller
Roanoke, VA Foot and Ankle Podiatrist
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