When an Ingrown Toenail Requires Help from Your Podiatrist

With the summer months upon us it’s time to ditch those socks and rock some fashionable sandals, flip flops, and slides. Of course, if you have an ingrown toenail, that’s probably the last thing you really want to do.

Ingrown toenails rank as the most common nail issue. In fact, 20% of all patients seeking treatment for a foot problem suffer from an ingrown toenail. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s always a minor problem.

Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt, Dr. Rahul Bhatt, and our podiatry team at Apple Podiatry Group give you the 411 on ingrown toenails so you’ll know when you should seek our help.

Ingrown toenails explained

Ingrown toenails happen when the nail of your toe, usually the big toe, grows into the skin surrounding the nail. Typically this happens if you trim your toenails incorrectly by cutting them too short or rounding off the edges instead of cutting them straight across. 

Another common cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are too tight or if the style is pointy or too narrow so they press against the nail and don’t allow your toes to rest comfortably in the shoe.

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail may progress from redness to infection.

Excessive redness and oozing

When the nail starts growing into adjacent skin, the toe gets red and inflamed and can ultimately develop an infection. Your first gut reaction may be that it’s only an ingrown toenail, so you should be able to treat it at home. You certainly can relieve some symptoms of minor cases of ingrown toenails by soaking your foot in warm water.

However, telltale signs that you may be developing an infection is pus drainage or the skin being warm to the touch. If after 2-3 days of home care your toe hasn’t gotten any better or has worsened, call us to discuss your symptoms. 

Pain, swelling, and fever

If left untreated your symptoms will grow in severity as the ingrown toenail develops a full-blown infection. At this point pain and swelling are common, and you may even have a fever. Again stopping the infection from progressing is crucial. Make an appointment to see us right away. In severe cases, untreated ingrown toenails can cause a dangerous bone infection in the bone under the infected toenail.

Diabetes or circulation issues

If you suffer from underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or circulation issues, you’re more prone to developing infections. And if you have a compromised immune system, it affects your body’s ability to heal. 

If you suffer from any of these conditions, contact us at the first signs of an ingrown toenail. Acting quickly may mean the difference between a minor issue and a serious complication.

If you have questions about ingrown toenails, book an appointment online or call us today. Our offices in Arlington and Irving, Texas, are open with modified hours during the pandemic. Our highly trained podiatrists are seeing patients with urgent cases such as infections, ingrown toenails, severe pain, and fractures. You can even schedule a consultation by video.

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