Ingrown Toenails Treatment Options

Most people experience the pain of an ingrown toenail at least once in their lives. The podiatric specialists at Glenoaks Podiatry Group in Glendale, California not only offer treatments for this common condition, but they also provide patient education on avoiding this and other foot problems. An ingrown nail has the potential to become a serious issue left untreated, especially for patients with other chronic conditions like diabetes. If you have an ingrown toenail and would like to talk with the doctors at Glenoaks Podiatry Group about your options, call our office or book an appointment online today.

Ingrown Toenails Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

As the name suggests, an ingrown toenail is a nail that grows into the soft flesh of the toe. It’s a condition that usually affects the big toe more than any of the others. The piercing of the nail into the tissue around the nail bed can cause pain, redness, swelling and, often, infection as it breaks through the skin surface.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

The symptoms will vary based on the extent of the tissue damage and whether there is an infection or not. Most patients with this problem complain of:

  • Tenderness around the nail bed
  • Pain on one or both sides of the toenail
  • Swelling of the toe around the nail
  • Pressure around the nail bed

It is possible an ingrown toenail will resolve itself, but patients should make an appointment if:

  • They notice drainage around the nail
  • There is extensive swelling or pain
  • There is an infection that seems to be spreading

It is especially important for people with diabetes or any other condition that leads to poor circulation in the feet to seek medical treatment for even a minor ingrown toenail. When there is poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet, even something minor like this can fail to heal properly. That may leave the patient will an open sore that can cause tissue decay and eventually, gangrene.

What causes ingrown toenails?

In most cases, the cause is cutting the toenail too short. This can cause the nail to push inward as it starts to grow longer. Other possible causes include:

  • Tight fitting shoes
  • Injury or trauma to the toe
  • Naturally curved toenails

It is usually a combination of problems that lead to the ingrown nail.

What is the treatment for an ingrown toenail?

The podiatrist at Glenoaks Podiatry Group may initially suggest some home treatments to resolve the problem. If they fail to work, the doctor can try lifting the nail and inserting something small, like dental floss, under it to encourage the nail to grow correctly. This is only an option if there is no infection. For more serious cases, the doctor may opt to remove all or part of the nail to relieve the pressure and treat any underlying infection.

Patients share their experience