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Treating Ingrown Toenails

Find out how to handle your ingrown toenail and when to see a doctor. 

An ingrown toenail is a small problem that can cause a whole lot of pain. If you notice redness and swelling of the skin around the edge of a toenail then you could be dealing with an ingrown toenail. This problem occurs when the edge of a nail grows into the skin and it most commonly occurs in the big toe. It’s important to know how treat the ingrown toenail yourself and when you will need to turn to our Healdsburg, CA, podiatrist Dr. Stephen Wagstaff for treatment.

Treating Ingrown Toenails with At-Home Care

If you are a healthy individual who isn’t dealing with diabetes, circulation problems or a compromised immune system then you will most likely be able to treat your ingrown toenail from the comfort of your own home. Usually this problem will resolve itself, but there are ways to manage symptoms and speed up the healing process:

  • You may choose to soak the affected foot in warm water for up to 15 minutes, which can ease discomfort (mixing 1-2 tablespoons of Epson salt in the bath may also help). You can do this several times throughout the day to ease symptoms. Just make sure to dry your feet immediately after.
  • Wear shoes that don’t bunch up toes or put pressure on the nail. This might mean wearing open-toed shoes like sandals, which will allow the nail to breathe. If you do need to wear close-toed shoes make sure that they aren’t too form-fitted or have a pointed toe box, which can make symptoms worse.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and swelling in the infected toe. Most people can manage their pain with simple non-steroid anti-inflammatories. You may also choose to apply an antibiotic cream to the toenail to reduce the risk for infection.
  • Carefully try to pull the skin away from the nail by placing a small piece of cotton between the nail and the skin.

Seeing a Podiatrist 

Even though there are many ways to care for an ingrown toenail on your own, it’s also important to recognize when you will need further medical care. It’s time to turn to your Healdsburg, CA, foot doctor if:

  • You are noticing signs of infection such as redness or drainage coming from the toe
  • You think a fungal infection may be to blame but over-the-counter medications aren’t working
  • You have an ingrown toenail and you have diabetes
  • Your symptoms don’t respond to treatment, get worse or keep coming back

Dealing with severe or persistent ingrown toenails? Experiencing heel pain? Whatever the problem might be, your podiatrist at Foot Ankle Sports Health in Greenbrae and Healdsburg, CA, can help you get the care you need to be back on your feet in no time. Call us today.

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