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Here’s Why You Should Never Ignore an Ingrown Toenail

Here’s Why You Should Never Ignore an Ingrown Toenail

You might not think too much about your ingrown toenail until it finally becomes infected. The truth is, ingrown toenails aren’t something you want to let hang around. Not only are they painful, but they also often lead to much bigger problems.

At Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center, our team helps you take care of your feet and toenails so you don’t have to worry about complications. Dr. David Deiboldt is our podiatry specialist who offers a variety of treatments to get rid of your ingrown toenails for good.

What are ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails happen when your nail grows down into the skin of the toe. Your big toes are most often affected by this condition, but it can occur in any of your toes if the circumstances are right.

The main cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your nails the wrong way. You should always cut your nails straight across, not at an angle, as this promotes the nail to grow into your skin. Other common causes of ingrown toenails are:

If you’re an avid athlete, you’re also at a higher risk for developing ingrown toenails. This is especially true if you’re involved in ballet, kickboxing, or soccer, as these all put pressure on your feet.

Symptoms of ingrown toenails

The symptoms of ingrown toenails range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the ingrown nail. Ingrown toenails yield some common symptoms including:

If you notice discoloration around the ingrown nail, along with severe pain and redness, you likely have an infection. It’s important to see Dr. Deiboldt early on to prevent complications from the infection.

Why ingrown toenails need treatment

If you leave an ingrown toenail untreated, you may end up with an infection. This is especially prevalent if you have diabetes. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, and pain. You may also notice pus draining from the site.

A toenail infection can spread much deeper, ending up in your bone in severe cases. This type of infection is much harder to treat than an infection near the skin.

Toenail infections also lead to foot ulcers, especially if you’re diabetic. These open sores aren’t just painful, they’re another way for bacteria to enter through your skin. You can lose blood flow to the area where the sore is located, causing tissue death.

Infection is one of the main reasons you don’t want to let an ingrown toenail fester. Not only are they painful, but also lead to severe complications that could land you in the hospital or cause permanent damage.

How do you take care of an ingrown toenail?

If your toenail isn’t infected, there are home remedies you can use to help ease your discomfort. These include things like soaking your foot a few times a day in warm water and applying topical antibiotics.

If your pain doesn’t subside in a week or so, you should come in to see Dr. Deiboldt as soon as you can. He offers several options when it comes to treating ingrown toenails.

As long as the area isn’t infected, Dr. Deiboldt can lift the nail up, allowing it to grow across instead of down into your skin. 

If you have a small infection in your nail, Dr. Deiboldt removes only a part of the nail after he numbs your toe with local anesthetic. The part of the nail that’s ingrown is removed, and a bandage is placed over the area.

When your ingrown nail continues to return or you’re dealing with severe infection, you may need to have the nail completely removed. Dr. Deiboldt performs this procedure in the office, after thoroughly numbing the area.

Don’t let your ingrown toenail get out of control. To schedule an appointment, call our office in Beltsville, Maryland at 301-804-1174, or book a consultation online today.

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