In most cases, an ingrown toenail is not really that big of a deal. There can be a bit of pain and swelling, but the situation can often be handled from the comfort of your own home. Gently guiding the nail away from growing into the surrounding skin is key, usually involving soaking the foot and the use of dental floss or cotton to provide a small barrier.
However, simplicity in a majority of cases does not mean all ingrown toenails are no big deal. Some can become a lot more troublesome. In these situations, it is highly recommended that you give us a call and leave handling your toe to a professional with the right tools.
Here are some times when it’s worth giving us a call over your ingrown toenail.
Any injury can be prone to infection. Injuries to the feet can be a little more susceptible due to how much more directly exposed this area of our body can be to the surrounding environment (including the insides of sweaty, dirty footwear.)
If you suspect your ingrown toenail might be infected, you should have us examine it as soon as possible. The more time the infection is allowed to go unchecked, the worse the situation can become.
Signs of infection in an ingrown toenail include:
- Intense pain and swelling
- Redness that radiates outward in streaks
- Discharge of pus
- An overgrowth of skin around the toe
- Possible fever
Your Ingrown Toenail is Too Painful to Deal with Yourself
Even if you do not suspect your ingrown toenail is infected, there are still cases where the pain can be severe.
If simply touching the area makes you want to howl in pain, that is more than enough reason to let us handle it instead.
If you are in that much pain, the odds are higher that there is something more going on than a simple ingrown toenail. We can provide a proper examination and treat any additional problems that might be occurring. You might even have an infection after all.
And frankly, why would you torture yourself trying to take care of your toe on your own if the pain is that bad? You can risk further injury this way, and we have the means to make the pain much more bearable before working on your toe.
Even if your cases of ingrown toenail are minor, experiencing them regularly is a problem.
It’s reasonable to have one every once in a blue moon, but if your toe keeps having trouble over and over, something is wrong.
In some cases, this repeat offense is caused by an external problem and relatively easy to correct. Common causes of repeat ingrown toenails are:
- Shoes that put too much pressure on your toes or force them to cram together, in which case a simple change of footwear can work wonders.
- Cutting your toenails improperly, such as by cutting them too short or by rounding the corners too much. A change in your trimming habits may do the trick.
- Repetitive trauma against your toes, which may happen as part of running in shoes that slide around on your feet. Changing your footwear or exercise habits may be effective in this case.
Some people are simply born with nails that tend to grow inward. If you see ingrown toenails run through your family line, this might just be the case with you, too.
When external changes won’t help ingrown toenails that just keep coming back, we might consider removing part or all of the nail as a permanent solution. Once the nail is removed, the underlying nailbed can be treated to prevent new nail from growing in.
This procedure can be performed easily in office under local anesthesia. You should rest your foot and limit activity for 1-2 days following the procedure, but recovery is relatively quick compared to other surgeries. We can discuss the full details of what to expect with you.
If an ingrown toenail is causing you more than a small amount of trouble, please do not hesitate to give us a call. It doesn’t matter whether your case falls neatly into any of the above categories or not. If you have any concerns whatsoever, they are valid!
Our experts can help ensure the problem is treated without any further pain or complications, allowing you to get on living with one less bother in the way.
We have offices in Tumwater, Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, Yelm, and Lacey. Call us at (360) 754-3338 to schedule an appointment at any of them, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically.