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

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

You're not alone if you’ve been experiencing pain from an ingrown toenail. Two out of 10 people who seek medical help for a foot problem have an ingrown toenail. But how do you know if you should see your podiatrist or treat it at home?

Aamir Mahmood, DPM, and his team at Momentum Foot & Ankle Clinic in Michigan City, Chesterton, Indiana, and Roselle, Illinois, want you to know exactly when it’s time to come in for a visit about your ingrown toenail.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is the most common health condition that can afflict your toenail. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of your toenail grows into the skin that surrounds it. Typically, ingrown toenails affect your big toe, though it’s possible for them to develop on your other toes as well.

If you have an ingrown toenail, you could experience some of the following symptoms:

Another sign of an ingrown toenail is granuloma, or new tissue growing over the edge of your nail.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

The kind of shoes you wear could be the culprit of that pain in your toe. Shoes that have a toebox that’s too tight or narrow can place pressure on your toes and nails, which, in turn, can lead to your nail growing into your skin. 

Trimming your nails too short or injuring your toe in some way can also lead to the eventual development of an ingrown toenail. 

Treating an ingrown toenail at home

If you have an ingrown toenail and your symptoms are mild, you may be able to treat it at home. Soak your toe in warm water for at least 15 minutes, dry your foot off completely, and then apply an antiseptic before wrapping your affected toe in a bandage. Repeat this process daily until your toe is healed. Make sure and wear open-toed shoes while treating your ingrown nail to avoid irritation. 

When to seek help from a podiatrist

If at-home treatments don’t help or the pain you’re experiencing is unbearable, we want you to come to see us. It’s also important to seek care when you notice a lot of redness, swelling, or fluid drainage since all of these things could indicate an infection. 

Treatment options

At Momentum Foot & Ankle Clinic, Dr. Mahmood uses partial nail avulsion or a matrixectomy to treat ingrown toenails. During a partial nail avulsion, a local anesthetic is given, and the corner of your nail that’s embedded is removed.

A matrixectomy is used if you have ingrown toenails frequently. During this process, the problem portion of your ingrown toenail is removed, and a special chemical is applied to the base of your nail to produce scarring so the ingrown toenail won’t come back.

If you’d like to seek care for your ingrown toenail, call our office location most convenient to you, or request an appointment online today.

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