An ingrown toenail is something almost everyone will have at least once in their life. While many cases are rare and mild, many others are best left to professional treatment.
Never hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding an ingrown toenail of any type or severity. We’ll always be happy to help!
Ingrown Toenail Symptoms
A toenail becomes ingrown when the edge or corner begins to grow into the neighboring skin, instead of alongside it. The big toe is most commonly affected, but the condition can happen to other toes as well.
Early symptoms of ingrown toenails often include:
- Tenderness and pain
- Swelling or hardening of the surrounding skin
- Accumulation of fluid around the toe
In the early stages of an ingrown toenail, home treatment may be possible and effective. However, there are other times when the condition is best left to the professionals.
When Should I See a Podiatrist About an Ingrown Toenail?
Again, you should never hesitate to reach out to us any time you have any concerns about an ingrown toenail whatsoever. And with a telemedicine appointment, we can take a look at the condition of your toe while you remain comfortably at home!
That said, there are certainly certain cases that should put up red flags. We highly recommend contacting us if:
- Your ingrown toenail is too painful to touch. We can treat your toenail in a way that is much more comfortable for you.
- Your toe is showing signs of infection, including discharge of pus, radiating red streaks from the source of the injury, and severe pain or swelling.
- You regularly keep getting ingrown toenails. They should be a rare occurrence at best. Frequent ingrown toenails can often signify an underlying problem that should be addressed.
- You have diabetes or poor circulation. Even small foot problems can quickly spiral out of control when these conditions are in play. It is always best to let us know what is going on before you attempt anything.
Conservative Ingrown Toenail Treatment
In most mild and non-recurring cases, an ingrown toenail can be treated effectively via conservative methods.
You may be able to care for the condition at home. This involves:
- Soaking the foot in warm water for 15-20 minutes, several times per day. (Epsom salts are optional.)
- After soaking, gently drying the foot and massaging the nail away from the ingrown area.
- Applying an antibiotic ointment and bandage.
- Sticking to bare feet or open-toed shoes as much as possible while the ingrown nail heals. If you must wear closed-toe shoes, try to wear those with roomy toe boxes.
We might also recommend medication to relieve pain and swelling, and may consider additional conservative treatments as necessary.
If we can trace your ingrown toenail to certain potential causes, such as tight shoes or improper trimming of toenails, we can provide advice and recommendations to help prevent the problem from occurring again.
Surgical Treatment for Ingrown Toenails
In severe or recurring cases, a simple surgical procedure may be preferred if conservative treatments would not be effective.
Dr. Dailey may recommend removal of either a portion (typically a small sliver) or the entirety of the nail to provide full relief.
For ingrown toenails that continue to return despite your best efforts to prevent them, Dr. Dailey might also recommend treating the underlying nail bed to permanently stop the growth of new nail. While not having a toenail might sound troublesome, in many cases it causes even less trouble than having one to begin with.
Any of the above surgical procedures can be performed directly in our office and will not be painful. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area prior to beginning, and the toe typically feels much better by the time it wears off!
Help for Ingrown Toenails
Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic is always happy to provide treatment and advice for ingrown toenails of any type. Call our Freeland office at (989) 695-6788 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.