Over 40 million adults have experienced an ingrown nail, making them one of the most common foot ailments. They can impact people of all ages, including teens and seniors alike, but they can be particularly troublesome for those with diabetes.
The team here at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, wants to help you identify the signs that your ingrown toenail requires podiatric help.
How to identify the symptoms of ingrown nails
An ingrown nail happens when the edge of your nail starts growing into the skin of your toe. This can happen as the result of an injury, wearing too-tight shoes, or cutting your nails too short. Poor hygiene and having sweaty feet can also increase your risk of developing an ingrown nail. Most ingrown nails develop on the big toe and can become increasingly painful as the condition worsens. Symptoms of ingrown nails include:
- Visible skin covering your nail
- Pain that worsens when you wear shoes
- Red, swollen skin on your toe
Initially, you might not notice all of these symptoms, but if an infection develops, you might see an open wound. Swift home remedies can actually help reduce your risk of infection.
Can you treat ingrown nails at home?
Yes! There are many at-home treatments that can help treat ingrown nails. For instance, soaking your affected toe in warm water can help reduce inflammation and the pain associated with the inflammation. Fill a basin with warm water and ½ cup of Epsom salt. Soak your feet for 15 minutes a few times each day.
You can also help prevent infections from occurring by keeping your foot clean and dry, applying an antibiotic cream to your toe, and resisting the urge to trim your nails at this time. Sometimes, foot soaks and good foot hygiene are enough to reduce the pain and inflammation, but sometimes you might need more help.
3 signs an ingrown nail requires attention from your podiatrist
Your ingrown nail may benefit from podiatric care if:
1. You have diabetes
Diabetics are more at risk for developing foot issues like ulcers. Any wound 一 even a blister or ingrown nail 一 can snowball into bigger problems.
2. Your symptoms get worse
Even though soaking your foot can be helpful, you should consider medical intervention if your redness and tenderness worsen 一 rather than get better 一 with at-home treatments.
3. You suspect you have an infection
Ingrown nails can become infected, and once an infection develops, you’ll need medical intervention. Signs of infection include oozing and a noticeable increase in redness and swelling. Left untreated, an infected ingrown nail can lead to cellulitis.
How we treat your ingrown nail
When you arrive at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center, Dr. Ruben Nieto first confirms that your symptoms are related to an ingrown nail. Potential ingrown nail treatments include:
- Antibiotics, if needed
- Topical solutions to help treat ingrown toenails
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy to promote healing
- Debridement, if needed
- Guidance for preventing future ingrown nails
To make an appointment with Dr. Nieto and explore your ingrown nail treatment options, call our Bakersfield, California, office at 661-238-7526 or try our online scheduling tool.