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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ndidi Ufondu, DPM

Drug-Induced Ingrown Toenails Disease: What You Need to Know

Drug-Induced Ingrown Toenails Diseases, DTID
Drug-Induced Ingrown Toenails

If you have ever experienced the pain and discomfort of an ingrown toenail, you know how frustrating it can be. But did you know that some medications can cause or worsen this condition? In this article, we will explain what drug-induced ingrown toenails disease (DITD) is, what causes it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it. We will also share some tips on how to care for your feet and nails at home and when to visit a podiatrist.

What is DITD?

DITD is a rare but serious condition that occurs when the side or corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing inflammation, infection, and pain. DITD can affect any toe, but it is most common on the big toe. DITD can occur in anyone, but it is more likely to affect people who have diabetes, poor circulation, or other health problems that affect the feet.

What causes DITD?

DITD can be caused by several factors, such as trauma, improper nail trimming, tight shoes, or genetic predisposition. However, some medications can also trigger or aggravate DITD by altering the growth or shape of the toenails. These medications include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs, such as taxanes and fluorouracil

  • Antiretroviral drugs, such as indinavir and zidovudine

  • Antibiotics, such as tetracycline and ciprofloxacin

  • Antifungal drugs, such as terbinafine and itraconazole

  • Retinoids, such as isotretinoin and acitretin

  • Beta-blockers, such as propranolol and atenolol

  • Diuretics, such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide

These medications can cause DITD by affecting the nail matrix, which is the part of the nail bed that produces new nail cells. They can cause the nail matrix to produce abnormal or defective nail cells, resulting in thickened, curved, brittle, or split nails. These nails are more prone to digging into the skin and causing DITD.

How to prevent DITD?

The best way to prevent DITD is to avoid taking medications that can cause it, if possible. However, this may not be an option for some people who need these medications for their health conditions. In that case, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of DITD:

  • Keep your nails short and clean. Trim them straight across and avoid cutting them too short or rounding the corners.

  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and do not squeeze your toes. Avoid high heels, narrow toes, or shoes that rub against your nails.

  • Protect your feet from injury. Wear socks and shoes when walking outdoors and avoid stubbing your toes or dropping objects on them.

  • Moisturize your feet and nails regularly. Apply a gentle lotion or cream to prevent dryness and cracking of the skin and nails.

  • Check your feet and nails daily. Look for any signs of redness, swelling, pus, or pain around your nails. If you notice any of these symptoms, do not try to treat them yourself. Seek professional help as soon as possible.

How to treat Drug-Induced Ingrown Toenail Diseases?

If you have DITD, you should not ignore it or try to fix it yourself. Doing so can make it worse and lead to complications such as infection, abscess, ulceration, or even bone damage. You should visit a podiatrist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in treating foot and ankle problems. At New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC, we have a team of experienced and compassionate podiatrists who can help you with DITD. We will examine your feet and nails carefully and determine the best course of action for your condition.

Depending on the severity of your DITD, we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Conservative treatment: This involves soaking your feet in warm water with salt or antiseptic solution, applying topical antibiotics or anti-inflammatory creams, wearing protective bandages or pads, and taking oral painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Partial nail avulsion: This is a minor surgical procedure that involves removing part of the ingrown nail under local anesthesia. This can relieve the pressure and pain caused by the nail and allow the skin to heal.

  • Total nail avulsion: This is a more extensive surgical procedure that involves removing the entire nail under local anesthesia. This can be done if the nail is severely damaged or infected or if the DITD recurs frequently.

  • Nail matrix ablation: This is a procedure that involves destroying the nail matrix with a chemical, laser, or electric current. This can prevent the nail from growing back and causing DITD again.

We will also provide you with post-operative care instructions and follow-up visits to ensure your recovery and prevent recurrence. We will also advise you on how to manage your medications and monitor your nail growth.

How to care for your feet and nails at home?

In addition to seeking professional treatment, you can also care for your feet and nails at home to promote healing and prevent DITD. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them daily with mild soap and water and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.

  • Apply antiseptic or antibiotic ointment to the affected area as directed by your podiatrist. Cover it with a sterile gauze or bandage and change it daily or as needed.

  • Avoid putting pressure on the affected toe. Wear loose-fitting socks and shoes or sandals that do not rub against the nail. Avoid walking or standing for long periods of time.

  • Elevate your foot when resting or sleeping. This can reduce swelling and pain.

  • Do not pick at or cut your nail. This can cause more damage and infection.

  • Do not use home remedies such as cotton, toothpick, or nail file to remove the ingrown nail. This can worsen the condition and introduce bacteria into the wound.

When to visit a podiatrist?

Drug-Induced Ingrown Toenails

You should visit a podiatrist if you have any of the following signs or symptoms of DITD:

  1. Severe pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around your nail

  2. Pus, blood, or foul-smelling discharge from your nail

  3. Fever, chills, or other signs of infection

  4. Difficulty walking or wearing shoes

  5. Diabetes, poor circulation, or other medical conditions that affect your feet

  6. Recurrent or persistent DITD

At New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC, we are committed to providing you with the best care for your feet and nails. We have the expertise, equipment, and experience to treat DITD and other foot and ankle problems. We also offer a variety of services such as custom orthotics, diabetic foot care, wound care, sports medicine, and more.

If you have DITD or any other foot or ankle issue, do not hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you achieve healthy and happy feet!


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