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Foot Health Focus: Ingrown Toenail

If you’re like most people, you probably take your feet for granted. But what if one day you woke up with an ingrown toenail? Suddenly, your feet become a source of pain and discomfort. An ingrown toenail can be caused by a fungal infection, or it can simply be the result of pushing back your cuticles too far. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of an ingrown toenail, as well as the treatment options that are available.

What is Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the edge of the nail grows into the flesh of the toe. This can happen on one or both sides of the nail and can affect any toe on the foot. The big toe is most commonly affected.

Why do ingrown toenails occur?

There are several different things that can cause an ingrown toenail.

  1. One common cause is a fungal infection. When the nail is infected with a fungus, it can become brittle and weak. This can cause the nail to break or chip, which allows the edge of the nail to grow into the flesh of the toe.
  2. Another common cause of ingrown toenails is pushing back the cuticles. When the cuticles are pushed back, it can create a space for the nail to grow into.
  3. Finally, wearing shoes that are too tight can also cause ingrown toenails. This is because the pressure from the shoes can cause the edge of the nail to grow into the flesh of the toe.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

The most common symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain. This can range from a dull ache to severe pain. The pain is usually worst when pressure is applied to the area, such as when you are walking or wearing shoes. Other symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling, and;
  • Warmth in the affected area.
  • If the nail is infected, you may also see pus or discharge.

If you think you have an ingrown toenail, it’s important to see a foot doctor. This is because an ingrown toenail can lead to a more serious infection if it’s not treated.

How is an ingrown toenail treated?

There are a few different treatment options for an ingrown toenail.

  • If the nail is only mildly ingrown, your foot doctor may recommend soaking your foot in warm water and applying an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
  • If the nail is more severely ingrown, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. This involves removing the part of the nail that is ingrown. In some cases, the entire nail may need to be removed.

After treatment, it’s important to take care of your feet. This includes wearing shoes that fit properly and not pushing back your cuticles. If you have a fungal infection, you may need to take antifungal medication.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

There are a few things you can do at home to help treat an ingrown toenail. Here are some of them:

  1. Soak your foot in warm water: This can help reduce pain and swelling.
  2. Apply an antibiotic ointment: This can help prevent infection.
  3. Wear shoes that fit properly: This can help prevent further injury.
  4. Push back your cuticles: This can help the nail grow properly.
  5. Soak in apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and pain.
  6. Epsom salt: Epsom salt can help to draw out the infection and reduce inflammation.
  7. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  8. Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can help to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Complications of ingrown toenails

If an ingrown toenail is left untreated, it can lead to a more serious infection. This is because the bacteria that cause infections thrive in warm, moist environments. The toe provides the perfect environment for these bacteria to grow and multiply. If the infection spreads, it can lead to cellulitis or bone infection. These complications can be serious and even life-threatening. That’s why it’s so important to see a podiatrist if you think you have an ingrown toenail.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

There are a few things you can do to prevent ingrown toenails. Here are some of them:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly: This can help reduce the pressure on your toes and nails.
  • Cut your nails straight across: This can help prevent the nails from growing into the flesh.
  • Don’t push back your cuticles: This can help the nails grow properly.
  • Use an emery board: This can help to keep your nails smooth and free of sharp edges.
  • If you have a fungal infection, treat it: Fungal infections can make the nails more likely to become ingrown.
  • Avoid tight-fitting shoes and socks: These can increase the pressure on your toes and nails.
  • Use a toe protector: This can help to cushion your toes and nails.
  • If you have diabetes, see a foot doctor: Diabetics are more prone to fungal infections and other foot problems.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks: This can help to reduce the pressure on your toes and nails.

Most ingrown toenails can be treated at home with simple home remedies. However, if the nail is severely ingrown or you have an infection, it’s important to see a foot doctor.

When to see a podiatrist?

You should see a foot doctor if you have an ingrown toenail and:

  • The toe is red, swollen, or painful.
  • You have pus or discharge from the toe.
  • The toe is warm to the touch.
  • You have a fever.
  • The toe looks infected.
  • If you have diabetes, you should see a podiatrist, if you have any foot problems.

If you think you have an ingrown toenail, see your foot doctor as soon as possible. untreated, it can lead to a more serious infection.

Treatment for an ingrown toenail usually involves removing the part of the nail that is ingrown. In some cases, the entire nail may need to be removed. If you have an infection, your podiatrist may prescribe antibiotics. You may also need to take antifungal medication.

Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable. But with the right treatment, they can be easily resolved.

Finding a Professional Foot Doctor. Visit Total Foot Care Specialist.

We offer a wide range of treatments for fungal nails, calluses, ingrown toenails, custom arch supports/orthotics, and other foot-ankle conditions to relieve foot pain and help you with your daily activities. Contact us today at 281.395.FEET (3338) or on our website, KatyFootCare.com to book an appointment at one of our offices located in Katy, Cypress, Copperfield, West Houston, Memorial, or Galleria areas.