When do You Need a Foot Doctor for Ingrown Nails?
What are Ingrown Toenails, and Do They Hurt?
Ingrown toenails are a common foot condition that can be painful and difficult to treat. They occur when the nail grows into the skin, trapping it and causing pain. Ingrown toenails occur when the corner of a nail begins to grow into the skin at the side of the toe. This causes inflammation, pain, and swelling.
The skin around the nail becomes red and inflamed. The area may also become infected if left untreated.
Ingrown nails can be treated with over-the-counter treatments or by seeing a doctor for more severe cases and additional health information.
What Are the Types of Ingrown Toenails?
Ingrown toenails are nails that grow into the skin next to the nail. There are three types of ingrown toenails:
- Acute Ingrown Toenail- An acute ingrown toenail is where the nail has grown into the flesh, causing pain and discomfort. This type of ingrown toenail usually requires medical treatment.
- Chronic Ingrown Toenail- A chronic ingrown toenail is where the nail has grown into the flesh, but not deeply enough to cause pain or discomfort. This type of ingrown toenail usually doesn’t require any medical treatment.
- Subungual Ingrown Toenail- A subungual ingrown toenail is where part of the toe has become trapped under the nail, which has grown into the flesh, forming an ingrown toenail.
If you experience foot issues, such as the pain of an ingrown nail, you should discuss options with your doctor.
How to Avoid Ingrown Toenails
A good way to avoid ingrown nails is by following good hygiene practices. This is especially important if you have diabetes since your feet are at higher risk.
Good foot hygiene includes developing habits such as:
- Keeping your feet clean and dry
- Not wearing shoes that are too tight
- Avoiding picking at your toes or nails
- Wearing socks that don’t bunch up in your shoe
- Trimming your nails straight across instead of rounding them off
To treat an ingrown toenail at home, you may try using a cotton ball soaked in vinegar or baking soda solution applied directly onto part of the nail for 10 minutes. You can also soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes each day until the toenail is improved.
How to Cure Ingrown Toenails
There are several ways to treat ingrown toenails. If an ingrown toenail is infected, your doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics or topical ointment to reduce pain and swelling.
Another option is using an ingrown nail file to cut the nail down, so it doesn’t grow back into your skin. In very severe cases, an option is surgery. This has the benefit of being permanent but is also more expensive.
Can you Dig out Ingrown Toenails?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you refrain from attempting to dig out an ingrown nail. This may cause it to break the skin allowing bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
The first thing you should do is soak your foot in warm water for 10 minutes and then dry it off. You can use a pumice stone or file on the side that is not ingrown. This allows you to remove any dead skin cells and debris from your nail edge.
What Do Podiatrists Do to Fix Ingrown Toenails?
Podiatrists are physicians who diagnose and treat disorders of the feet, ankles, and toes. This includes ingrown toenails.
They will first diagnose what’s causing your ingrown toenail. Common causes are tight shoes or socks that push your toenails back into the skin, a fungal infection, or an injury.
Then, they will prescribe a solution. This may be as simple as changing your shoes or socks and trimming your nails regularly, or it may involve nail removal from your toe if you have a more serious case.
Are There Antibiotics for Ingrown Nails?
Although antibiotics won’t cure ingrown nails, they may be prescribed for an accompanying infection.
The most common toenail treatment is soaking the foot in warm water with Epsom salt or baking soda. This will soften the skin around your nail and make it easier to cut away the part of your nail that has grown into your skin.
Antibiotics can only be provided by a doctor, so if you are concerned that your toe or nail is infected do not hesitate to call your physician.
Is Ingrown Nail Cream Helpful?
You can get ingrown nail cream to treat your situation. There are many different types of ingrown nail creams available. You can buy them at drugstores or pharmacies, as well as from online retailers.
However, some people may find that their nails grow back into the skin even after using the cream for many months.
If you find that home remedies aren’t helping, or the issue keeps recurring, it is probably time to seek the attention of a foot specialist like Dr. Ivan Silva. He can provide advice, assistance, and the medical care needed for the toe.