When you have an ingrown toenail, it tends to make itself known throughout your day. What level it does this at can differ, though. Your level of discomfort can range from a standard annoyance to severe pain!
No matter how mild or severe you feel your ingrown toenail might be, we are always here and happy to address it properly, providing you with rapid relief and even helping to prevent future ingrown nails from occurring. While there are times when you should immediately call us for ingrown toenail help (see our section below), you should never feel like you have to wait for your condition to “qualify” first!
What Causes an Ingrown Toenail?
An toenail becomes ingrown when it curves downward and begins to grow into the surrounding skin. This tends to cause pain, tenderness, and swelling. While most ingrown nails are found on the big toe, any toenail can potentially become ingrown.
There are several potential reasons why an ingrown toenail can occur. Many involve external pressures and impacts on the nail, including:
- Tight shoes that compress the toes and nails.
- Trimming toenails too short and/or too rounded in the corners, encouraging curved growth.
- Trauma to the nail (such as from dropping something on it or the repetitive impacts of running) that can cause the nail to grow improperly.
There can also be a genetic component, in which you were simply born with nails that naturally grow inward. While other factors may be alleviated with changes in shoes and habits, advanced treatment may be needed if ingrown toenails simply run in your family.
When Should You Always Call Us for an Ingrown Toenail?
While some ingrown toenails can be mild enough to try to treat at home, there are certain situations when we will always recommend immediate professional care.
- The area is causing you too much pain.
- You suspect an infection (symptoms can include pus/drainage, severe pain, radiating red streaks from the area, and fever).
- You have diabetes, poor circulation, or other conditions that increase your risk of complications when handling foot injuries.
- You regularly suffer from ingrown toenails, despite taking preventative measures.
Please remember, however, that you can always contact us any time you have any concerns whatsoever about an ingrown toenail. You don’t necessarily need to fall under any of the above categories!
Treating an Ingrown Toenail
For milder ingrown toenails, effective treatment can sometimes consist of soaking the foot several times a day, bandaging it along with some antibacterial ointment, and wearing shoes that do not place pressure on the toes.
If improvement is not seen within 2-3 days (or things get worse before then), it’s definitely time for us to take a look.
We may need to gently lift the edge of the ingrown nail away from the aggravated area to allow it a better chance to heal. In more severe cases, we may need to partially or fully remove the nail.
Nail removal is a simple surgical procedure that can be performed with local anesthetic right in the office.
Removing the nail can allow proper healing. In cases where ingrown toenails keep returning, the underlying nail bed may be treated to prevent future nail growth, eliminating ingrown nails for good.
Do not worry about pain being worse than what you are experiencing now when coming in for ingrown nail treatment. We have the tools and techniques to effectively reduce discomfort, and your nail should feel a great deal better following any treatment!
Get Help for Ingrown Toenails
Whether you have a stubborn one-time case or your ingrown toenails simply keep coming back, Midwest Podiatry Centers can help you find the solution. Call us at (612) 788-8778 to schedule an appointment at any of our area offices, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically.