When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require a Visit to the Podiatrist?

Feb 17, 2023
When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require a Visit to the Podiatrist?
Ingrown toenails are common, and there’s no need to worry in many cases. However, sometimes an ingrown toenail can become infected, requiring a visit to the podiatrist. Learn more about the signs here.

An ingrown toenail is one of the most common nail problems experienced by Americans annually. It happens when the corner of your toenail grows inward into your skin instead of outwards, causing inflammation, pain, and sometimes an infection. 

Ingrown toenails are common among teenagers and young adults but can occur at any age. You may need surgery to take out the ingrown nail in severe cases. 

Taking care of an ingrown toenail is just another Tuesday for our skilled podiatric surgeon team at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery in Burbank, Santa Clarita, and Northridge, California. 

Learn more about spotting the signs of an infected ingrown toenail and what to expect from the procedure to take care of it. 

What causes an ingrown toenail? 

One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails is cutting your toenail incorrectly. When cutting your toenails, it’s crucial to ensure that they are not too short or rounded to prevent your nail from growing into the skin.

Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly 
  • Physical trauma to your toe 
  • Poor foot hygiene
  • Taking particular medication, for instance, epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors

Certain people are more at risk of developing an ingrown toenail than others. People with diabetes, blood circulation problems, and nerve damage in their legs or feet are more susceptible to developing ingrown toenails. 

Signs that your ingrown toenail requires medical attention 

In many cases, an ingrown toenail is nothing to worry about and can get treated by conventional methods at home. However, you should make an appointment with our team of podiatrists if your ingrown toenail is causing any of the following symptoms: 

  • Severe pain 
  • Swelling 
  • A hot or warm sensation in the affected toe
  • Pus coming out of the affected toe
  • Significant redness around the nail 
  • A fever 

Ignoring these signs can lead to a more severe infection, which could cause further complications. 

While treating an ingrown toenail at home is common, you should book an appointment with us if you notice it’s not getting better despite home care efforts. 

If you have conditions, such as diabetes or poor blood circulation, you should book an appointment with us at the first sign of an ingrown toenail. These conditions make you more susceptible to infections and complications. 

Treatment for an ingrown toenail

Treatment for ingrown toenails range depending on the severity of your condition. In severe cases, you might need surgery. However, more conventional methods like soaking your foot in warm water and Epsom salts may help in mild to moderate cases. 

If you need surgery for your ingrown toenail, we perform a complete or partial nail avulsion, which involves injecting an anesthetic into your toe and entirely or partially removing the affected toenail.

After surgery, it can take a few months for the toenail to grow, so be patient. 

Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable, especially when infected. We can take care of it at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Call 818-848-5588 or book an appointment online today for a consultation at one of our three offices.