When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require Medical Treatment?

An ingrown toenail can cause pain, redness, and swelling. Sometimes, these symptoms can be relieved by soaking your feet or cutting your toenails differently. Other times, an ingrown toenail needs medical attention to prevent an infection that could cause serious foot problems.

At Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey, our team of podiatrists can treat your ingrown toenail and provide tips for preventing future ingrowns.  

Ingrown toenail causes

An ingrown toenail occurs when the side or corner of your toenail grows into the skin rather than straight across the nail bed. When the toenail grows down, it can cut into the soft surrounding skin and tissue. This can cause irritation, pain, and redness. Ingrown toenails most often develop in big toes, and they can develop in people of any age.

Here are some risk factors for developing ingrown toenails.

DIY toenail treatment

If you suffer from a slightly ingrown toenail that doesn’t seem infected, soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salts. Soak up to three times a day for 20 minutes each. Apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to help reduce the risk of infection and speed healing. If pain persists, try an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

When an ingrown toenail requires medical treatment

If at-home treatments don’t relieve discomfort from your ingrown toenail, or if the problem keeps coming back, it’s time to seek medical treatment. Signs that your ingrown toenail is becoming infected include:

Please, never attempt to remove your ingrown toenail! This can increase your risk of infection and cause terrible pain.

Treating ingrown toenails is our business. Treatment options include placing a splint under your toenail to prevent it from growing into your skin or removing the part of your toenail that’s ingrown.

We can demonstrate how to trim your nails properly and help you choose different types of shoes that won’t create or exacerbate nail problems. If necessary, we will remove your toenail for a permanent solution.

Do you suffer from an ingrown toenail? Our providers at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey will get you back on your feet quickly. To schedule an appointment, call 856-266-9572, or send us an email.

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