Why Are Ingrown Toenails Dangerous When You Have Diabetes?

Why Are Ingrown Toenails Dangerous When You Have Diabetes?

Ingrown toenails are painful and annoying, but when treated quickly, they’re rarely serious. However, if you have diabetes, ingrown toenails require extra care to prevent complications.

Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, the board-certified podiatrist at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, recommends all people with diabetes seek podiatry care when they develop an ingrown toenail. Understand why ingrown toenails can be dangerous when you have diabetes and what you need to do.

What complications do ingrown toenails cause?

When your toenail grows into the toe’s skin instead of growing out, you develop an ingrown toenail. If quickly and fully treated and removed from the skin, ingrown toenails often don’t cause any serious problems.

Unfortunately, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes, complications of ingrown toenails can sometimes develop. Possible complications of ingrown toenails include:

In addition, untreated ingrown toenails can be quite painful and make walking difficult until they’re removed from the skin.

Diabetes and ingrown toenail complications

Diabetes causes poor circulation, which makes it harder for blood to reach your feet and hands. It can also cause nerve damage, which makes it more difficult to feel sensations in your feet.

Ingrown toenails leave a cut or wound behind, even after the ingrown toenail is removed. People with diabetes are more likely to have a complication known as diabetic ulcers when cuts form for any reason on their feet. 

An ingrown toenail on a diabetic can easily develop into a diabetic ulcer. Diabetic ulcers are open wounds on your feet that are slow or difficult to heal. 

Without proper treatment, these can lead to complications like infection and gangrene. In severe cases, they can even cause hospitalization and amputation.

If you have nerve damage in addition to poor circulation, it’s harder to feel the pain and discomfort from a diabetic ulcer. This can cause foot ulcers to become severe before you even know they exist.

Treating ingrown toenails with diabetes

It’s important to prevent ingrown toenails as much as possible if you have diabetes. You can reduce your odds of getting an ingrown toenail by trimming your toenails evenly across the top, wearing shoes that fit properly around your toes, and avoiding activities that could rip your toenails or cuticles.

As a person with diabetes, monitoring your feet regularly for ingrown toenails and other cuts is important. Because of nerve damage and reduced circulation, you might not notice common symptoms of ingrown toenails like pain, discomfort, and swelling as quickly.

If you have diabetes and develop an ingrown toenail, don’t attempt to treat it by yourself using at-home care. This is because you’re at greater risk of complications and need to have the wound monitored at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle.

Our team removes your ingrown toenail from the skin while monitoring the wound, resulting in potential complications. If the wound is infected, our team can also prescribe various antibiotics.

If you’re diabetic and have recurring ingrown toenails, our team can perform ingrown nail removal or laser treatment to kill the nail’s growth and root and prevent it from growing further.

For diabetic treatment for ingrown toenails or other wounds, contact us for prompt and skilled treatment.

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