Ingrown toenails are one of the most common issues we see patients coming in with. About 20 percent of people over 21 years old will experience ingrown toenails, and the condition is even more common among children.

Even babies can develop ingrown toenails!

person with white shirt and grey pants shows toenails

The Good News: 

Sometimes we can take matters into our own hands and treat the affected toenails at home. Try soaking them in warm water and Epsom salts for some relief. Maybe the nail just needs to be left alone and you just need to let the situation run its course. Luckily, at-home treatments for ingrown nails are often enough to correct the problem.

We never want to encourage what we call "bathroom surgeries," though. No digging, cutting, or prying the ingrown nails on your own. This will almost never actually solve the problem and can lead to nasty wounds or infections. 

When to Seek Treatment

The following ingrown toenail symptoms warrant a call to our office:

  • Redness or exessive drainage, or other signs of infection.
  • Enough pain to interfere with your daily life.
  • Failure of at-home treatment.
  • If you have an existing condition which affects your blood circulation, like diabetes.
  • If you have an existing condition which prevents circulation in your feet, like neuropathy.
  • If you have persistent ingrown toenails that keep coming back. This could tell us that the issue is related to the structure of your foot.

What Should I Expect?

When you come into the office, we will take you to an exam room and go over your medical history. Your toe will then be numbed anf the procedure will begin. I will cut away any portion of the nail that is ingrown. We will clean and debride any infected tissue. Upon completion of the procedure, the toe will be wrapped with a bandage.

For stubborn ingrown nails that keep coming back, I will use a chemical solution to stop the nail from becoming ingrown in the future.

Following this visit, you will be set up with an appointment two weeks from the date of the procedure. Our medical assistants will also ensure that you are sent home with a thorough, comprehensive hand-out. This handout will outline every step of post-op care.

To Put Your Mind at Ease...

Many of my patients have confided in me that they waited months (or longer) to seek treatment for their ingrown toenails. More often than not, this hesitation in seeking treatment stems from fear. Here are a few things my office does to make this procedure as comfortable as possible:

  • We numb the toe. This one goes without saying. Beyond a slight pressure, you will not feel any part of the procedure.
  • You don't have to look. If you want to watch the procedure, great! If you think that might make you a little queasy, no problem. We can block the affected area from your view. 
  • We are always patient and understanding. I make sure to check in throughout the procedure to make sure we can keep you comfortable and help you if you start feeling sick, lightheaded, or anxious. 

We take pride in being understanding, inclusive, friendly, and above all kind. If you have any concerns prior to your procedure or even before you've decided to schedule an appointment, we are more than happy to ease your mind and make you feel confident in the care you've chosen. 

Learn more about our compassionate approach to podiatric care here

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

If you want to avoid ingrown toenails, follow these handy tips:

  • Trim your toenails straight across and make sure to cut them even with the edge of your toe.
  • Choose the right footwear. Avoid shoes with a narrow toe box.
  • Keep your feet protected if you work at a hazardous job. Wear steel-toed boots or shoes. 

Of course, preventing ingrown toenails is always better than having to undergo a procedure, but sometimes the condition is unavoidable. In that case, we are here to take care of the problem and get you back on your feet. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, give us a call or fill out our convenient online contact form and a member of our team will respond by the next business day. 

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