Updated: Dec 28, 2022
Ingrown toenails are painful and can make wearing shoes uncomfortable. You’ll frequently hear that big toes are the most likely to be affected, but any toenail can become ingrown. Unfortunately ingrown toenails are common, but you can take steps to prevent them.
Since ingrown toenails won’t go away without treatment, it’s crucial to know what to do when developing one. If you’re wondering what the symptoms of an ingrown toenail are and what are effective ingrown toenail treatments, you’ve come to the right place here at Qureshy Foot & Orthotic Clinic.
What Does an Ingrown Toenail Look Like?
You may suspect you have an ingrown toenail if it looks like your nail has curved downward into the skin, or perhaps it looks like a section of skin is growing over the toenail. If you are experiencing what you believe is an ingrown toenail, seek a diagnosis from a chiropodist. Some tumors can mimic the appearance of an ingrown toenail and if that’s the case, you’ll want to act as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail
Anyone can get an ingrown toenail. If you clip a nail too short or suffer an injury that cracks a nail, a shard of the toenail can grow into the skin and lead to infection. Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
Redness and swelling around the toenail
Tenderness or pain
A buildup of fluid around the embedded nail or toe
Pain when touching or putting pressure on the toe
As the infection develops or spreads, you may experience additional symptoms:
Inflamed, tender skin
The nail fold begins to grow over the nail
At this stage, ingrown toenail treatment must be done by a chiropodist. A chiropodist uses sterile instruments to treat the ingrown toenail safely, removing the nail spike. An infected toenail needs immediate ingrown toenail treatment.
Never put cotton under the nail as doing so can cause bacteria to grow. At home, never try to remove the nail spike yourself. Don’t trim the nail yourself, especially around the borders. This will only make an ingrown toenail worse. Ingrown toenail treatment can include a minor surgical procedure that removes part of the nail’s side border and it’s best not to do anything at home that could make the treatment more difficult.
Will It Grow Out?
An ingrown toenail doesn’t go away without treatment. However, mild cases may react positively to at-home treatment, such as:
Soaking your foot in warm water several times a day to reduce pain
Keep the food dry and clean after soaking
Applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage to your toenail
Wear open-toed shoes if socks and shoes irritate your toenail
When To See a Chiropodist
If you start experiencing drainage, significant swelling, warmth, or worsening pain, it is time to see a chiropodist. An infection requires ingrown toenail treatment, and once an infection takes hold, you must seek treatment quickly. If you have underlying health conditions that affect the feet, seek ingrown toenail treatment as soon as you notice a problem.
At Qureshy Foot & Orthotic Clinic, we treat painful and infected ingrown toenails conservatively while addressing the footwear and biomechanics involved in developing one. Contact us if you want to learn more about prevention and treatment.