What to Do About an Ingrown Toenail
At best, an ingrown toenail is a constant source of irritation. As the nail edge digs sideways into the skin, it produces pain, swelling, and tenderness that make themselves known any time you put on a pair of shoes or brush your foot against an object. At worst, an ingrown toenail can pose more serious health risks, including infection and ultimate amputation—especially if you have diabetes, neuropathy, or an otherwise compromised immune system.
In other words, if you have one, you ought to do something about it. But what? What to do for an ingrown toenail depends on two things: the current condition of your toe, and your health status.
If the condition is mild—no signs of infection and no severe pain—and you’re healthy and free from diabetes, you can start with home treatment. Give your feet a nice soak in warm water for about 15 minutes, as many as four times per day. Afterward, you may need to gently lift the ingrown toenail and hold it with a piece of waxed dental floss. This should be changed every day to avoid infections.
You should contact our office immediately if any of the following apply:
- You’re experiencing severe pain.
- You notice signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
- You have diabetes, or any other condition that causes a reduction in blood flow or weakened immune response.
- You’ve attempted conservative care for 2-3 days but the problem hasn’t gone away.
We’ll take a closer look at your ingrown toenail and determine what additional remedies may be necessary. Usually, we’ll recommend a partial nail removal procedure. This involves numbing your toe, carefully cutting out and removing the ingrown portion, supplying any necessary antibiotics or medications, and bandaging your toe again. The procedure is quick, and most patients experience little if any pain and can return to regular activities within a day.
If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem, we can also perform one additional procedure to destroy a part of the nail matrix. This will permanently prevent the ingrown toenail from growing back, and hopefully will eliminate your problem once and for all.
If you have an ingrown toenail, you have options! If home care isn’t working—or you just want the problem fixed—give Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper a call today at (812) 481-7200.