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Identifying When Your Ingrown Toenail Requires Medical Attention

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Podiatry in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

If you need help identifying your ingrown toenails and require medical attention, schedule an appointment with podiatrists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to discuss your specific condition and seek relief from the infection. The top-rated foot and ankle doctors treat ingrown toenails to get rid of the infection and alleviate your painful symptoms. Leaving such problems untreated can result in serious complications and affect your quality of life and activity. With timely diagnosis, you can look forward to keeping your feet healthy and preventing future illnesses and injuries.

Pain, swelling, and tenderness around your toe and the inability to wear certain shoes are signs of an ingrown toenail. It is a common condition that needs medical attention, but if you identify it timely, you can also take care of it at home. Unbearable pain and the presence of an abscess is a sign of infection, and you may not be able to cure it with remedies. In such a case, you must see a doctor to have your condition properly diagnosed and treated.

Ingrown Toenails – a Common Condition

Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown Toenail

If the corner or side of your toenail is becoming red and inflamed, it is an ingrown toenail. It is a common condition that occurs when you cut your toenails too short, wear tight shoes or stub your toe.

Some people have toenails that naturally carve into the skin, making them more vulnerable to infections and malformation. While most ingrown toenails go away on their own or can be resolved with ointments or antibiotics, managing them becomes a bigger problem if they become infected, the infection spreads, or you have certain pre-existing conditions.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

With the change in the shape of the toenail, the ridges that hold the toe in place lose their connection. It causes the toenail to grow into the sides or corners of your skin. It is called an ingrown toenail.

Infection in the toenail can occur due to improper or tight-fitting shoes, inappropriate trimming of toenails, fungal infection of the nail or injury, and trauma around the nail area. Sometimes genetic factors, improper foot hygiene such as not keeping your feet clean and dry, and poor posture also lead to an infection.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails commonly occur in the big toe. They are painful, and they usually worsen in stages.
You may experience symptoms according to the extent of infection or the level of pain it is causing.

Early-stage symptoms include:

  • Swollen, red skin on one side of the affected toenail
  • Pain and tenderness in the toe
  • A buildup of fluid around the toe

If the toe becomes infected, your symptoms may include:

  • Red and swollen skin
  • Pain that results from pressure if you wear closed shoes
  • Overgrown skin at the tip of the toe or alongside the nail
  • Blood or pus that begins to leak from the toenail or an open sore

An infected toenail may feel warm to touch, and in some cases, it can cause fever symptoms if an abscess is present. Treating the ingrown toenail as soon as possible is necessary to avoid worsening of symptoms.

Do not ignore your symptoms, even if they are just uncomfortable. Try home remedies as they may alleviate your discomfort and prevent the further spread of infection.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

These home remedies can reduce the pain and swelling and play a significant role in resolving the ingrown toenail on its own. They include:

  • Soaking your toe in warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes several times a day
  • Applying antibiotic ointment to the toe and covering it with a bandage
  • Wearing open sandals that keep away the pressure from toe
  • Taking an over the counter pain reliever to keep the pain under control
  • Avoiding cutting or unnecessarily touching the toenail

If you feel improvement in your toe in a couple of days with these remedies, there is no risk of infection spreading or deteriorating. However, if these solutions do not make a difference and the symptoms continue to worsen with increasing pain and swelling, stop these home remedies and seek medical attention.

When to Consult a Podiatrist?

When home remedies do not work or you have recurring ingrown toenails, schedule an appointment with an experienced and qualified podiatrist. The expert foot and ankle specialist can determine the possible causes behind your recurring problem and recommend the best treatment and therapies.

If you suffer from diabetes, peripheral artery disease, or other health conditions that cause poor circulation, you are at a higher risk of an ingrown toenail. You must not wait to seek medical attention because untreated ingrown toenails can lead to dangerous infections or abscesses that may require surgical intervention. If you are not careful, it may even spread into the bone in your toe.

The doctor will diagnose your disorder with a physical exam. If the toe seems infected, you may require an x-ray to determine how deep the nail has grown into the skin. The imaging test will also reveal if your ingrown nail was caused by some injury.

How Podiatrists Treat Your Ingrown Toenail

Podiatrists help keep your feet healthy and prevent further illnesses and injuries that affect your balance and walk. Consulting the best podiatrist in NY can make a difference between painful conditions and walking through your day with ease.

Podiatrists examine your ingrown toenail carefully to figure out the extent of infection and skin condition. They may be able to carefully lift the toenail and separate the nail from the skin to prevent further complications. It helps the nail grow above the skin inside of it.

In severe cases, the doctor may remove the entire toenail or some parts of it. If needed, the podiatrist may use a local anesthetic to numb your toe and remove the nail along with a small portion of the skin that is causing the problem or has been infected.

Treating Ingrown Toenails

If the infected ingrown toenail is left untreated, it can cause further infection and pain. The infection can also spread to the underlying areas and lead to bone infection, which can be very serious.

Treating the infection is essential as ingrown toenails can become a critical health complication if they are not managed the right way.

There are a few different types of treatment options for ingrown toenails. They include:

  • Inserting a wedge of medicated cotton between your nail and the inflamed skin to relieve the pain and drain the infection
  • The abscess can also be drained through an incision that is made after giving local anesthesia
  • Antibiotic ointments and tablets to dry the infection
  • Surgical excision of the ingrown toenail to relieve the pain and complications

If you are prone to ingrown toenails or frequently suffer from foot infections, your doctor will also discuss preventive measures to control and manage the situation for you in the long run.

Do not ignore any abnormal growths or deformation on your feet and toes as they might develop into some critical issue like an ingrown toenail. If you experience pain, redness, inflammation, or swelling, it may be time to seek medical help. The experienced and skilled podiatrists at the Century Medical and Dental Center provide the best care for all your foot and ankle needs. Whether your problem is related to nerve or joint or a podiatry condition like an ingrown toenail, the expert doctors use the most diverse treatments and therapies to ensure the best possible outcome and help you live a pain-free life.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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