Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute
Podiatrists located in Austin, TX
Sometimes small injuries, like the pain of an ingrown toenail, can affect your daily activities with every step you take. Seeing a qualified podiatrist at the first sign of toenail irritation is an important step in preventing infection and permanent damage down the road. At Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute, Babak Kaviani, DPM, and Liza Chabokrow, DPM, offer nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for ingrown toenails. If you live in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area, book an appointment through the online scheduling system or by calling the office directly.
Ingrown Toenails Q & A
What is an ingrown toenail?
If you’ve ever stubbed your toe or cut your toenail too short, resulting in an irritated and swollen area at the corner of your nail, chances are you’ve experienced an ingrown toenail. When the edge of your toenail curls down and digs into your skin, an ingrown toenail forms.
Many people will experience an ingrown toenail at some point in their lives since they’re so common. Frequent symptoms include:
- Redness and warmth
- Pus drainage or watery discharge (if infected)
What causes an ingrown toenail?
There are multiple reasons an ingrown toenail can develop, but a common one is from trimming your toenail too short. When grooming, be careful to clip your toenails straight across and avoid tapering the corners.
In addition to improper nail trimming, there are other causes that frequently lead to this condition:
- Tight shoes or socks
- A fungal infection
- A hereditary predisposition
- Trauma, such as stubbing your toe or something falling on the toe
Dr. Kaviani or Dr. Chabokrow can determine the most likely cause of your ingrown toenail and get you started on the best treatment plan, and give suggestions for preventing a recurrence.
What treatments are available for an ingrown toenail?
For a mild ingrown toenail, soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day can help soothe and relieve symptoms. If your condition is severe, your podiatrist might prescribe oral antibiotics or place a splint under the nail tip to lift and separate it from the surrounding skin.
If necessary, they may recommend surgery to remove the ingrown portion of the nail. This provides a more permanent solution if there’s a high probability your toenail will grow back incorrectly.
To remove the nail, Dr. Kaviani or Dr. Chabokrow numbs the area with a local anesthetic, then removes the portion of the nail’s edge and tip that’s embedded in your skin. Depending on the severity of the condition, sometimes they need to remove the entire nail.
Why is treatment of an ingrown toenail important if you have diabetes?
If you have diabetes, you should check your feet daily and address an ingrown toenail as soon as possible. If it’s left untreated, complications could arise down the road. Poor circulation and nerve damage put anyone with diabetes at a higher risk for developing an infection or diabetic foot sores, meaning your ingrown toenail may take longer to heal or may not heal properly and could potentially develop into gangrene.
If you have an ingrown toenail, contact Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute for expert treatment. Booking is available online and by phone.