When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require a Visit to Your Podiatrist?

To remedy your ingrown toenail pain, see Bruni Leka, DPM, at Foot and Ankle Excellence in Philadelphia.

If you’re experiencing throbbing pain in your toe that makes walking unbearable, then you may have an ingrown toenail. While it’s possible to treat your ingrown toenail at home, if your toe pain is getting worse, or it looks as though your toe may be infected (draining fluid, swollen and red, or warm to the touch), then it may be time for our expert podiatrist -- like -- to take a look. 

Is it an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is the most common health issue that affects your toenails. As the name implies, an ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of your toenail grows into your skin at the upper corner of your nail bed. The big toe is most often affected, but an ingrown toenail can occur on any of your toes.

Signs and symptoms that may indicate you have an ingrown toenail include:

Your shoe fashion choices may be to blame for the pain in your toe. Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow in the toebox places pressure on your toes and nails, which may cause the nail to grow into your skin. Trimming your nails too short or sustaining an injury to your toe may also lead to the painful toe condition.

Home remedies for ingrown toenails

An ingrown toenail doesn’t always require a visit to the podiatrist, and you may be able to manage your toe issue with at-home treatments, especially if your symptoms are mild. Try soaking your toe in warm soapy water for 15-20 minutes daily. Then, dry your foot with a clean towel, apply an antiseptic agent to the ingrown nail area, and wrap your toe in a bandage. While you’re treating your ingrown toenail, wear open-toed shoes to prevent irritation. 

When it’s time to see the podiatrist

If your home remedies improve your toe pain and your nail returns to normal — great! But if your home remedies fail to improve the toe or the pain you’re experiencing is unbearable, then it’s time to come in and see us at Foot and Ankle Excellence. You should also come in for podiatric care for your ingrown toenail if the skin is red and throbbing or it’s draining fluid, which may indicate an infection. 

If you have diabetes or circulation issues, you’re at greater risk of an infection that may lead to more serious complications, and you should not treat your ingrown toenail at home. We can provide the care you need to redirect the growth of your toenail and prevent any further issues. 

Podiatric treatment for an ingrown toenail

We offer many options for the treatment of your ingrown toenail. How we treat it may depend on the severity of your symptoms and how frequently your ingrown toenail occurs, as well as your medical history. We may be able to improve the situation by cleaning the toe and placing a piece of cotton underneath the corner of your toe to help redirect your nail’s path.

In more severe cases, we may need to remove a portion or all of your toenail to treat your toe condition. We also provide antibiotics, either topical or oral, when they’re needed to clear up an infection. 

Ingrown toenails are painful and may make simple tasks, like walking to the bathroom, awkward and uncomfortable. For expert care of your ingrown toenail, call Foot and Ankle Excellence or request an appointment online today.

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