Ingrown Toenail

Tri-County Foot Care

Podiatrists & Foot & Ankle Surgeons located in Brighton, MI; Livonia, MI; Sterling Heights, MI; Troy, MI; Taylor, MI; and Trenton, MI

You may not think of an ingrown toenail as a medical condition, but if it’s painful or infected, if you get them often, or if you have diabetes, you should seek treatment from an experienced podiatrist. Board-certified podiatrists Lee K. Gold, DPM, and Ignazio D. Perna, DPM, can help relieve your pain, heal infections, and prevent future ingrown toenails. They have six convenient office locations throughout the Detroit metropolitan area, in Brighton, Livonia, Sterling Heights, Trenton, Taylor, and Troy, Michigan. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

When your toenail is “ingrown,” that means the corner or side of the nail has grown into the surrounding skin. This usually happens to your big toe. The area surrounding an ingrown toenail may be painful, tender, red, or swollen.

Ingrown toenails usually result from improperly trimming your toenails. You should trim your toenails straight across. When you leave rounded or jagged ends or cut them too short, they are more likely to dig into your skin.

Other causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Poor foot hygiene
  • Toe injuries, including from stubbing your toe, dropping something on it, or repeatedly kicking a ball
  • Shoes or socks that don’t fit properly
  • Poor walking or standing posture

In most cases, you don’t need to see a doctor for an ingrown toenail. However, if the pain is interfering with everyday life, your symptoms are getting worse, or you think you have an infection, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Gold or Dr. Perna.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Most ingrown toenails improve from simple at-home care within 2-4 days. If your toenail is causing only minor pain, you can treat it by:

  • Soaking your feet in warm water and mild soap 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time
  • Applying antibiotic ointment to the area and covering it with a bandage after soaking
  • If possible, wearing open-toed shoes, like sandals, to avoid irritating the toenail
  • Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort as needed

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gold or Dr. Perna if your symptoms get worse or if you notice pus draining from the area. These are signs of an infection, which requires medical attention.

Most infected ingrown toenails respond to antibiotics, but you may need a procedure to remove the infected part of the nail. The doctors perform this procedure with a laser machine at the Brighton office. It’s quick, nearly painless, and is effective for both treating ingrown toenails and preventing them from recurring.

If you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or a circulatory condition, you should seek attention for an ingrown toenail, even if it appears mild. These conditions increase your risk of infection.

How can I prevent ingrown toenails?

Most ingrown toenails are preventable. In addition to treating ingrown toenails, the doctors help you to prevent them from becoming a recurring problem. Preventive steps you can take include:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across
  • Wearing shoes and socks with enough room for your toes
  • Cleaning your feet and nails every day
  • Letting your feet breathe after high-impact exercise like soccer and running

If an ingrown toenail is bothering you, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gold or Dr. Perna, either online or over the phone.