Does Your Ingrown Toenail Require Medical Attention?

Ingrown toenails can be a pain — literally! The redness, swelling, and irritation of this common condition make even normal movement something you’d prefer to avoid.

Some at-home methods may alleviate the discomfort of an ingrown toenail, but if home treatments don’t eliminate the swelling and tenderness in a few days, it’s time to get help from expert podiatrists Evan Breth, DPM, and Neha Khanna, DPM, at Progressive Podiatry PLLC in Brooklyn, New York. 

Waiting too long before seeking medical attention increases your risk of developing an infection that may require more serious intervention. In this informative guide, we describe the signs that indicate it’s time to seek help for your ingrown toenail. 

Why do I have an ingrown toenail?

Toenails should grow straight out from your nail bed. When the sides or one of the front edges of your toenail curves in instead of growing straight, it cuts into your skin. This is called an ingrown toenail

There are many reasons you can develop an ingrown toenail. One of the most common is by trimming your nails too short. Another is by wearing shoes that are too tight in the toes and pinch or cramp your feet.

Other possible causes of ingrown toenails include:

While it’s possible to develop an ingrown toenail on any toe, they occur most often on your big toe.  

When should I treat an ingrown toenail at home?

At first, you may not notice much more than a mild twinge of discomfort when you walk or touch the affected toe. Even though it’s easy to dismiss these early symptoms, prompt recognition and treatment can help prevent the development of bigger toenail problems. 

As soon as you notice the beginning of an ingrown toenail, start treating it at home. Here are some at-home steps you can take:

It’s very important that you do not attempt to don’t cut your nail or nail bed yourself. This can lead to further complications and increases your risk of infection.  

When should I see a podiatrist for my ingrown toenail?

If you’ve tried the at-home treatments for a few days but symptoms don’t improve or begin to get worse, contact the team at Progressive Podiatry so we can help prevent complications. 

You should also seek podiatric intervention if your ingrown toenail has signs of being infected at any time. Some of the signs of a toenail infection include:

If you have diabetes or another medical condition that reduces circulation in your feet, you’re more prone to developing an infection. In such cases, we recommend you skip the at-home care and come in to see us as soon as you develop any symptoms of an ingrown toenail.

Don’t put off seeking medical help if your ingrown toenail becomes a noticeable problem. The team at Progressive Podiatry can help. Call the Brooklyn office nearest you to schedule an exam, or book an appointment online now! 

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