Complications of an Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails cause swelling, redness, and pain. In mild cases, you can relieve your symptoms by soaking your feet in a warm bath with Epsom salts. Ingrown toenails can also sometimes grow out on their own, especially if you trim your toenails correctly.

However, in some cases, you need medical attention. An experienced podiatrist can treat an ingrown toenail and prevent infections and other complications. 

Here at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, our team of providers offers expert ingrown toenail care for patients. With offices in the Beverly/Mt. Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago and in Orland Park and New Lenox, Illinois, we can conveniently provide the treatment you need to help you avoid the painful complications of an ingrown toenail.  

About ingrown toenails

In ideal circumstances, your toenail should grow straight out. When you have an ingrown toenail, the side or corner of your nail grows into your skin instead of out of the nail bed. The nail cuts into the soft skin and tissue of your toe, causing redness, pain, and irritation.

Ingrown toenails typically develop in the big toe but can form on any toe. Complications include infection of the tissue surrounding the nail as well as a bone infection. If you have diabetes and poor blood flow, your risks of complications increase due to a poor ability to heal.

Causes of ingrown toenails

Some of the most common causes of ingrown toenails include cutting your nails too short or with curved edges, wearing poorly fitting shoes, foot injuries, and other nail problems. Some of the factors that can increase your risk of getting an ingrown toenail include sweaty feet, diabetes, and obesity. 

At-home toenail treatment

You can treat mild ingrown toenails that don’t have signs of infection by soaking them in warm water with Epsom salts. We recommend soaking your feet for 20 minutes up to three times a day. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment to limit the risk of infection and accelerate healing. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can reduce persistent swelling and pain.

When to see a podiatrist for an ingrown toenail

If your ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to at-home care, if your pain increases, or if you have any complications that interfere with your ability to stand or walk, it’s time to see a podiatrist. 

Infection is a common complication of ingrown toenails. If your toenail shows any signs of infection, make an appointment with our team. Some common signs of infection include: 

You should never attempt to cut out or remove an ingrown toenail on your own. This can increase your risk of infection, making your pain much worse. 

Ingrown toenail treatments

Here at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we treat ingrown toenails all the time. We offer various treatments, including placing a splint under the toenail to prevent it from growing into your skin or cutting out the part of your toenail that has grown into your flesh. If necessary, we can remove your toenail to prevent recurring ingrown toenails.

In addition to treating your ingrown toenail, we provide advice on how to trim your nails properly. We can also recommend different types of shoes that won’t create or worsen nail problems. 

If you have a persistent or painful ingrown toenail or any signs of infection, call the office convenient to you, or make an appointment online today.

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