Initially, getting an ingrown toenail might not seem like a big deal. With it might cause a bit of pain and redness, it might seem like more of a nuisance, similar to getting a minor ingrown hair, but sometimes, further trouble can occur.
Ingrown toenails aren’t usually serious, but according to double board-certified podiatrist Thomas Rambacher, DPM FACFAS, FAPWCA, from Mission Viejo, California, ignoring an ingrown toenail without seeing a podiatrist can ultimately lead to severe problems. Here’s why Dr. Rambacher, of Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle, recommends always getting your ingrown professionally toenail treated.
Understanding ingrown toenails
Ingrown toenails are common in teenagers and young adults, older adults, and people with diabetes. An ingrown toenail occurs when one one your toenails, most often the nail on your big toe, grows into the skin next to it instead of growing outward.
Symptoms of ingrown toenails include localized pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness where the toenail is ingrown. You might also be able to see the nail embedded in your skin.
Anyone can get an ingrown toenail, but you’re more likely to develop one if you don’t cut your toenails straight across, wear tightly fitting shoes, injured your toe or toenail, or have had an ingrown toenail previously.
Why ingrown toenails need treatment
Ingrown toenails aren’t just painful annoyances, they also need treatment. Here’s why Dr. Rambacher recommends getting podiatry care for your ingrown toenail as soon as possible.
Ingrown toenails don’t get better on their own
Unfortunately, an ingrown toenail won’t get better without treatment. It won’t dislodge from your skin on its own, the pain continues to get worse, and you put yourself at risk for additional problems by ignoring it.
Ingrown toenails can cause serious complications
The longer you let an ingrown toenail remain ingrown without treatment, the more likely you are to develop complications. Ingrown toenails can become infected, in which case they can develop pus and increased redness in the area.
Infections from an ingrown toenail can spread and cause systemic complications throughout your body. Additional complications from an untreated ingrown toenail include:
- Serious bone infections
- Diabetic wounds and ulcers
- Gangrene from loss of blood flow to the area
Treating an ingrown toenail
The good news is, treating an ingrown toenail before serious complications develop is simple. If your ingrown toenail is minor and not infected, you can often resolve it right at home.
To do this, continue to soak your impacted ingrown toenail in a warm bath. After the bath, use care in gently trying to raise your ingrown toenail from the skin it’s embedded in. Sometimes, this removes the ingrown toenail completely.
If your ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to home care, has symptoms of an infection, or you have diabetes, a circulation disorder, or a nerve disorder, you can get your ingrown toenail treated in a quick visit to Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle. Dr. Rambacher can prescribe antibiotics and pain medication and remove the ingrown toenail with a simple, fast in-office procedure.
Dr. Rambacher can also remove your ingrown toenail at the root using acid/laser therapy. This is an excellent option if you continue getting ingrown toenails even after taking preventative measures.
If you have an ingrown toenail that won’t go away at home, make an appointment online or at 949-916-0077 for experienced, skilled treatment at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle.