Unpleasant Pedicure Prevents Tennis Star Victoria Azarenka from Playing

Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka is the top ranked female tennis player in the world and current title holder of the 2012 Australian Open which she won last January. Her path to claiming the Open title for the second year in a row hit a road bump this week when an infected ingrown toenail forced her to withdraw from a Brisbane International semifinal match against Serena Williams just 30 minutes before the match was to begin. Azarenka says the injury is healed and is playing in the Austrailian Open this week.

Azarenka developed the ingrown toenail and subsequent infection after receiving a pedicure. At her pedicure, the toenail of her big toe was cut too short, and was jammed into the skin and soft tissue around the nail as she walked and played in her tennis shoes. When a nail grows into the skin and causes infection the condition is called “paronychia”. The skin will develop signs of infection including redness, swelling, warmth, pain and can even produce drainage. Ingrown nails can be extremely painful, which is why Azarenka underwent treatment for the condition and decided not to play at Brisbane to avoid any further complications. Other than improperly cutting the toenails, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the development of paronychia including having naturally curved toenails or onychocryptosis, improperly fit shoes that irritate the skin next to the nail, obesity, and even overpronation. If infection is not treated promptly, it can spread to the bone causing osteomyelitis or bone infection or to the blood causing sepsis.

The first step in the treatment of ingrown nails is the removal of the offending portion of nail. Your podiatrist should perform this procedure with sterile medical instruments, as attempting to remove the nail at home can further aggravate the condition by adding new bacteria to the wound or by not achieving complete removal of the necessary nail. A partial nail avulsion can be performed where the toe is numbed and a slice of nail is removed to temporarily prevent further pain and recurrence. Once infection has cleared, procedure may be performed to permanently prevent recurrence of painful ingrown toenails for those with curved toenails or who have frequently developed the condition in the past. This procedure is also performed quickly and with very little pain in your podiatrist’s office and is called a matrixectomy. A small amount of chemical is applied to the nail root to prevent its regrowth into the skin. After any of these procedures, strapping and bandaging will stop any further pain until the toe has healed. Luckily, Azarenka’s toe should be pain free and healed in time for her to defend her title at the Australian Open and hopefully she learned her lesson to be careful when choosing where to receive a pedicure in order to prevent future infections!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia