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3 Ways to Cope With an Ingrown Toenail

Dr. Eman Elmi
October 23, 2023
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An ingrown toenail can be incredibly irritating. Ingrown toenails can occur when you cut your toenails too short, usually on the sides of the big toe. When tapering the corners of a toenail, you open up the possibility for the nail to grow into the skin near the nail bed. While this is the most common reason for developing one, ingrown toenails can also develop from tight shoes or congenital conditions. 

Thankfully, ingrown toenails are common and very treatable. This article will discuss symptoms, removal options, and treatments for ingrown toenails.

Symptoms and Ingrown Toenail Removal

Ingrown toenails may cause several uncomfortable symptoms. The most common symptom is tenderness around the area. It is also quite common for the impacted area to be swollen, red, or hard to the touch. In some cases, ingrown toenails may excrete a small amount of pus. This condition may cause continuous pain and may lead to an infection unless it is properly cared for. 

Ingrown toenails can happen to any of your toenails; however, they are usually found around the big toe. People of all ages can develop ingrown toenails, but it is most common among teenagers. 

Ingrown Toenail Removal

For those struggling with an ingrown toenail, ingrown toenail removal may be a recommended treatment option. Here are 2 ways a doctor may choose to remove an ingrown toenail.

  • They might recommend partially removing the nail. In more serious cases where skin has become inflamed, creating a lot of pain and pus, removing part of the nail may help. Your doctor may numb the toe and cut off a chunk of the nail. This may cause some discomfort once the numbing agent wears off. In most cases, it will take 2 to 4 months for the toenail to grow back to normal.
  • They might recommend completely removing the nail and tissue. If someone experiences recurring ingrown nails on the same toe, a doctor may suggest removing the nail and nail bed (underlying tissue). This process may be done using a laser or other removal methods. 

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

There is an array of ingrown toenail treatment options depending on the severity of the situation. It is often encouraged to try at-home options before considering surgery or antibiotics. Here are a few nonsurgical treatment options to consider.

At-Home Ingrown Toenail Treatments

When recognized early, nonsurgical, at-home treatment options can help alleviate the long-term effects of ingrown toenails. When an ingrown toenail is recognized, you can try:

  • Wearing more comfortable shoes or only wearing sandals until the condition improves
  • Take pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Soak your foot in warm water 3 or 4 times a day
  • Keep your foot dry and untouched (no shoes) as often as possible
  • If the condition gets worse or doesn’t improve within 72 hours, contact your doctor

Other Ingrown Toenail Treatment

If your condition worsens, surgery or other medical intervention may be necessary. As mentioned previously, surgery to remove some or all of a nail may be necessary. If there is excessive pain, discharge, swelling, or inflammation, the toenail is likely infected. In such a case, a doctor will encourage you to take oral antibiotics. 

In most cases, antibiotics and surgery will handle the issue. If ingrown toenails continue to develop, contact your doctor for further treatment options. 

Struggling with an Ingrown Toenail? Contact Diablo Foot & Ankle Today

Are you dealing with an ingrown toenail? Are the symptoms getting worse? Diablo Foot & Ankle is here to help. When symptoms get worse, infection might be soon to follow. Our team will help you explore your options and find a treatment plan that is right for you.

Ready to get started? Contact Diablo Foot & Ankle today!

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