Get Rid of Painful Ingrown Toenails

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An ingrown toenail can feel like a thorn in your side – in this case, the side of your toe.

But what is happening, exactly, when you have an ingrown toenail? This painful condition often occurs when the side or corner of a toenail starts to grow in a curved manner, pressing into the soft flesh surrounding it. This leads to common symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Swelling along the side of the nail
  • Redness and inflammation

While many mild ingrown toenails can be treated at home, you should always contact us if you suspect an infection. Signs of infection can include severe pain, spreading redness or streaks, and pus discharge from the area.

You should also not hesitate to reach out to us for ingrown toenail treatment if the problem is too painful for you to address on your own, if your ingrown toenails keep coming back, or you have diabetes or another condition that can increase your risk of complications. We are happy to help you find effective solutions to restore your comfort – without causing much if any pain in themselves!

ingrown toenails

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

When a nail becomes ingrown, one (or more) of the following causes is typically to blame:

  • Ill-fitting Footwear. Shoes that fit poorly can crowd the toes and exert extra pressure on the front of the foot, increasing the likelihood of a nail growing into the skin. 
  • Physical Trauma. Damage to the nail and/or nail bed, often from impacts such as dropping something on your toe or black toenails from running, can cause the nail to regrow incorrectly.
  • Improper Nail Trimming. Cutting your nails too short or rounding them off too much at the edges can also cause improper regrowth.
  • An Inherited Tendency. Some people are simply born with nails that tend to grow curved and become ingrown. If ingrown toenails are common in your family, they might happen regularly to you as well.

Cutting-ingrown-toenail

How to Get Rid of Ingrown Toenails

The usual place to start with treating ingrown toenails is with home care. However, don’t forget: skip home care and call us instead if any of the situations we discussed previously is in play.

If your case is otherwise mild, the following steps may provide the relief you need:

  • Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes in warm water to soften the nail tissue, relieve tenderness, and reduce swelling.
  • After soaking, gently pat the foot dry, then apply antibiotic cream or ointment and properly bandage the affected toe.
  • Keep your toe out of tight shoes while it heals. Barefoot or open-toed shoes are usually the best options, depending on the situation. (Don’t run around outside barefoot, please.)

Some sources say to place a piece of dental floss or cotton beneath the nail after you soak, but there is some risk for pieces of these items to become stuck and potentially increase your risk of infection. If you do use floss or cotton, always replace it several times per day and make sure you get all of it out of there.

If your toes are not showing improvement after a day or two of home treatment, it’s time to see us. We can treat your ingrown toenail effectively by lifting it away from the skin. 

In other cases, we may partially or fully remove the nail with a simple in-office procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area before we do so, and things tend to feel a great deal better once that wears off!

For nails that continue to come back ingrown no matter what you do, we might recommend a removal of the nail followed by a special treatment to keep it from growing back.

After a removal, we will bandage your toe with antibacterial ointment and gauze. We will provide detailed post-operative instructions, and you might also want someone with you who can drive you home.

The Help You Need to Take Care of an Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail can range from a mild nuisance to a significant problem, but we are happy to provide caring treatment no matter how severe it may be.

Call us at (814) 472-2660 to schedule an appointment at our Ebensburg office. You can also fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach out to us electronically instead.