Compared to all the health problems that might likely come your way, an ingrown toenail may seem like no big deal. But unfortunately, if left untreated, it can worsen and become incredibly painful. Some ingrown toenails can even become infected.
At Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers, we want to help you treat your ingrown toenail. Our practice has many qualified providers, including Payam Sarraf, DPM; Kate Kennedy, DPM; Katy Statler, DPM; Andrew Goodeill, DPM; Christopher Van Damme, DPM; Amelia Harris, DPM; and Sina Safar, DPM. And all of them understand the issues associated with ingrown toenails as well as the importance of treating the problem quickly!
The lowdown on ingrown toenails
Here’s the truth about ingrown toenails. In some cases, they can be treated at home. However, that isn’t always the safest option. If you have certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes or a nerve problem in the legs and feet, or if you notice your nails grow in such a way that your toenails often become ingrown, you’ll need to seek professional help right away.
Still, if you choose to treat your toenail at home, make sure you follow the proper procedures. Try soaking your feet in warm water for a few minutes 2-3 times a day. You can gently massage the skin where the inflammation is with clean, dry hands, and to keep the nail from pressing into the skin, you may also want to put a piece of cotton between them.
If you begin to notice the issue is worsening, it’s time to seek professional treatment. But under no circumstances should you simply ignore the problem and expect it to get better on its own.
The downside of ignoring ingrown toenails
Ingrown toenails are extremely common, so people often think the problem will resolve with time. In fact, 20 out of 100 people who visit their family doctor for a foot-related issue are seeking treatment for an ingrown toenail. That is because one of the first side effects of ignoring an ingrown toenail is pain.
Ingrown toenails can cause significant discomfort. Eventually, the nail will grow to the point where it digs into your skin all the time, and wearing closed-toed shoes will only exacerbate the problem.
Another common side effect of an ignored ingrown toenail is infection. It’s easy for bacteria to get introduced under your skin. Infection causes even more pain, discomfort, and other issues. Your toe could begin bleeding, oozing fluid, or even emitting a bad smell. Severe infections can even result in gangrene.
If an ingrown toenail is left too long, it could potentially require surgery to remove part or all of the toenail. That can also be necessary if an ingrown nail continues to recur after initial treatments.
Get help for your ingrown toenail today
Not everyone needs a visit to the podiatrist to fix an ingrown toenail. But one thing is for sure: you don’t want to pretend like it isn’t happening, as inaction could lead to a more significant problem.
We’re available to discuss and treat your acute or chronic ingrown toenail problem. Just call one of our five Arizona locations, or make an appointment online at your convenience.