Is Your Ingrown Toenail at Risk of Infection?

Have you ever noticed how you don’t think about your healthy toenails from day to day, but the minute something goes wrong you immediately feel your nails with every step? Ingrown toenails are one of the most painful nail conditions you’ll experience. They happen when the side or corner of your toenail digs into your skin. But the pain they cause is only half of the story: ingrown toenails are fertile grounds for bacteria to breed, causing a dangerous infection that could put your health in extreme jeopardy.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails Starts at Home

The first step to preventing an ingrown toenail is to watch your foot care routines. There are a few things you can do to keep your toenails healthy and growing properly:

  • Take care when clipping your toenails. Don’t cut your toenails too short or too rounded. This makes it harder for them to grow back properly without digging into your skin.
  • Give your toes some wiggle room. Tight shoes, socks, and hosiery can push your toes together. This pinch can cause your toenails to grow in abnormally.
  • Keep an eye on your toes after an injury. If you jam your toe or stub your toe, keep a close eye on your nail for the days and weeks following the injury. This way, you can be sure your toenail didn’t get pushed into the skin, causing it to grow incorrectly.

If you notice that your toenail looks a little bit unusual or if you feel the pain of your toenail digging into your skin, you might have an ingrown toenail already. If so, you need treatment.

How Do You Know If You Have an Ingrown Toenail?

Many times, you can see the toenail growing directly into the skin. It’s obvious that you have an ingrown toenail. Other times, it’s not so clear. It might be hard to know if you have an ingrown toenail or not.

Watch for these signs to determine if something is abnormal with your nails:

  • Redness
  • Swelling around your nail
  • Bleeding or oozing around your nail
  • Pain

If you see these signs, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. The sooner you get treatment, the easier and faster your recovery will be.

What Happens Next?

Treating an ingrown toenail is easier the sooner you visit your podiatrist. Many treatments can be done at home, if the ingrown toenail is minor and not at risk of infection. Some home treatments include:

  • Soaking your feet in warm water three to four times a day for 15 minutes.
  • Repositioning the nail above the skin using a toothpick or dental floss.
  • Using antibiotic creams to prevent infection.
  • Avoiding pointed shoes.

Treatment from a podiatrist is available for more serious foot conditions. Here are a few of the ways we commonly treat ingrown toenails:

  • Removing part of the nail so that it grows in correctly. This might require a gentle anesthetic to numb the area.
  • Removing some of the nail and tissue. This is done if your toenail and the skin around it becomes infected.

When you leave the office, you will probably get antibiotics to take while your toenail heals. This way, you can prevent infection.

The sooner you see a podiatrist, the better. To schedule your appointment, contact us today at 888-569-9559. Our podiatrists will give you the care and treatment you need to have happy, healthy feet again.