Updated: Sep 29
Ingrown toenails are an extremely common foot problem that occurs due to a wide range of reasons. These include everything from age, the type of exercise you complete, and overall foot hygiene. Though the problem itself isn’t too dangerous at first, it can be extremely painful and may prevent walking altogether if it’s not treated. If you have diabetes or curved toenails, then you are more susceptible to developing ingrown toenails. Luckily, there is a myriad of ingrown toenail treatments available, ensuring that you can get the treatment you need to be feeling your best.
When Should You Seek Professional Treatment?
The symptoms for an ingrown toenail will differ depending on how serious the problem is, as well as your age and the cause of the issue itself. In general, an ingrown toenail will be slightly red and swollen, causing some mild discomfort when walking or when in shoes. However, if your symptoms are mild, then there are a number of home treatments you can use to solve the problem.
Firstly, make sure that you keep your feet and socks as clean as possible. Feet hygiene is extremely important no matter your age or profession. Clean your feet thoroughly when washing, making sure that you remove any dirt from around your toes. This will help to prevent ingrown toenails from occurring and will also reduce any risk of infection from occurring.
If you already have an ingrown toenail, then you should soak the affected foot for around 20 minutes in warm water. Do this several times a day in order to reduce any further inflammation and also give your feet room to breathe.
Should you be experiencing any form of pain, take a mild painkiller, and apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream to prevent any infection. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the nail or remove it entirely.
If you are still required to leave the house, then you should always wear shoes that have more room in the toe box. Avoid wearing tight shoes and socks and consider wearing sandals if appropriate. When trimming your nails, always trim then straight across, as this will prevent the nail from growing back at an angle.
While these home treatments should be enough to relieve the pain and help your nail recover, they may not always be enough. If this is the case, it may be time to see the best family doctor or podiatrist.
Here are some of the reasons you should see a professional:
● You experience severe pain without any pressure on your foot
● There is significant pain if the toe is touched lightly
● Severe redness or swelling
● Any sign of oozing pus, this could be the sign of an infection
● The skin around your toe is warm or hot
If you experience a single, or multiple of these symptoms, you should seek ingrown toenail treatment immediately. The longer you leave the nail, the more significant damage it can do and in some cases, it can leave you unable to walk. If you have an infection, this will require treatment before it subsidies. Therefore, it is always advised you see a doctor if you begin experiencing anything more than a little pain. A professional can diagnose any problems you have as well as provide you with tailored treatment to assist your recovery.
Treatment Options Available for Ingrown Toenails
In most circumstances, conservative treatment for your ingrown toenail should be enough to help. A podiatrist can help you to understand the cause of your ingrown toenail and provide you with at-home remedies to help you overcome the problem. They can tailor these solutions for you and also write you a note if the pain is preventing you from getting to work. However, if you are experiencing moderate or severe symptoms, foot surgery may be the best solution. Don’t worry, this isn’t as scary as it sounds.
The procedure itself is relatively simple. It will take around 15 minutes in total and can simply be performed in your doctor’s office. After the procedure, you will not require stitches and may have some bandages applied to prevent any infection.
Your doctor will begin by injecting your toe with a local anesthetic to numb the area. They will then cut the ingrown portion of your nail out and cauterize the root of the nail. There is no downtime to this procedure and you will be walking within a matter of minutes. In addition to this, it works as a permanent fix if you experience chronic ingrown toenails.
You really don’t have to suffer if you experience painful ingrown toenails. At
Little Cross Family Clinic, we can provide you with conservative treatments that will help to relieve your problems or provide you with a fast surgical procedure if required.