Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

Visit our Houston Foot Doctor for Help

While we provide comprehensive foot care services here at Houston Foot Specialists, we see some conditions more frequently than others, including ingrown toenails. This particular medical issue causes pain and discomfort, can affect individuals of all ages, and places diabetic individuals at risk for a potentially dangerous infection. Fortunately, an ingrown toenail can be treated quite easily. Even better, you can take steps to keep the condition from happening in the first place.

Ingrown Toenail Symptoms

There are a handful of ingrown nail symptoms, including:

  • Pain and tenderness along the edges of an ingrown nail.
  • Redness, swelling, or infection in the area around the affected toenail.
  • In more severe cases, there may be pus or redness that appears to spread. If you experience either of these, be sure to contact Houston Foot Specialists and schedule the earliest possible appointment with our office.

How Ingrown Toenails Develop

There are several possible causes for a toenail that has become ingrown. These include such factors as trimming toenails too short or rounding them, wearing tight footwear that crowds your nails, and physical injury to the nail from a traumatic incident (dropping a heavy item on your foot, sports injury, etc.).

Sometimes, the root cause of an ingrown nail, especially one that keeps returning, is an unusually-curved nail structure that was genetically inherited.

Treating Ingrown Toenails Ingrown Toenails

When an ingrown nail is less severe in nature—if you are not diabetic, and there is no pus or sign of infection—you might want to attempt to treat the issue on your own at home first. This can be accomplished with the following steps:

  1. Soak the affected foot in warm water three or four times in 15-20 minute sessions during the day to reduce swelling and relieve tenderness.
  2. After soaking your foot, gently lift the ingrown nail edge and place a clean, fresh bit of waxed dental floss underneath (to encourage the nail to grow over the skin, and not into it).
  3. Apply antibiotic ointment liberally on the sensitive area, and then cover it with a clean bandage.
  4. Wear open-toed shoes or sandals (not flip-flops) until the toe feels better.
  5. Take naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen to relieve the toe pain, but contact us first for dosage recommendations.

When home care does not produce desired results, or you have a toenail that is repeatedly becoming ingrown, it is time to see us for professional treatment. Depending on the situation, we might need to remove either a part or the entire nail. Typically, we only remove the entire nail in recurrent cases. When we do this, we will use a procedure to prevent the nail from growing back.

Ingrown Nail Prevention

There are a couple preventative measures you can use to prevent ingrown toenails from developing. These include:

  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. Footwear should have enough room in the toe box area for your toes to wiggle freely, along with about a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  • Trim your toenails the right way. Make sure your nails are not too short and do not round them off. A good guideline is to clip them straight across and even with the edge of the toes.
  • Protect your feet. If you work at a job where you often move heavy items, protect your feet with safety shoes or steel-toed work boots. When you move heavy objects at home, ask a friend or loved one to help.

Professional Ingrown Toenail Treatment

You might be able to take care of an ingrown toenail on your own and in the comfort of your own home, but there are times when professional treatment is necessary. When this is the case, contact Houston Foot Specialists and let us provide the care you need. Call us at (713) 467-8886 for more information or to request your appointment with our Houston, TX podiatrist office. You can also schedule a visit with us online today!