Is an Ingrown Toenail Serious?

Most people give little thought to their feet and toes until an issue occurs. Among the most common issues is an ingrown toenail, which can cause pain, redness, and inflammation. 

Here at Bay Area Foot Care, with 10 locations in and around San Francisco, California, our highly skilled team of podiatrists provides care for all your foot and ankle needs, including the latest treatments for ingrown toenails.

Read on to learn about ingrown toenails, what causes them and when you should seek medical attention.

Ingrown toenails 101 

Estimates show that 18% of US adults have experienced an ingrown toenail at some point. Ingrown toenails are common, and they usually get better by themselves with rest and care. In some cases, however, your ingrown toenail may indicate the presence of an infection.

Ingrown toenails occur when the front or side edge of the nail curves into your skin rather than growing straight out of the nail bed. This can be caused by cutting your toenails too short, wearing tight shoes, or dropping something heavy on your foot.

Symptoms and treatment 

In the first few days after developing an ingrown toenail, your symptoms are likely minimal. You may feel discomfort when you move the nail or when the nail gets squeezed inside your shoe. 

If your ingrown toenail becomes painful, you may get relief from at-home treatments, including soaking your toes in warm water several times a day, wearing comfortable shoes, or taking painkillers.

If at-home treatments don’t help, however, you may need to see one of our foot care specialists. Persistent pain and oozing pus could indicate an infection.

Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing an infection and should see a podiatrist immediately rather than waiting a few days to see whether symptoms improve. When you have diabetes, Infections are harder to treat and they may lead to severe complications if they’re ignored.

Treatments for an ingrown toenail include lifting the nail with a splint to separate it from the skin, topical treatments, and oral medications. Depending on the severity of your ingrown toenail, you may be a candidate for partial or complete nail removal.

Call us to treat your ingrown toenail

Ingrown toenails can cause a lot of pain and lead to complications if not treated. If you’re dealing with the swelling, redness, and discomfort of an ingrown toenail, call one of our convenient locations or book your appointment online.

We’re located in San Rafael, Castro Valley, Pleasanton, Oakland, Walnut Creek, and San Leandro, California, as well as the Lower Pacific Heights, Inner Richmond, NoPa, and Mission District neighborhoods in San Francisco.

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