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Why an Ingrown Toenail Can Be More Problematic for Diabetics 

Why an Ingrown Toenail Can Be More Problematic for Diabetics 

Diabetics are more prone to foot problems (for a variety of reasons), and even the smallest of issues can snowball into larger ones. That also includes ingrown nails. Though many non-diabetics may be able to treat a minor ingrown nail at home, the same just isn’t true if you have diabetes.

Below, our board-certified wound care specialists and podiatrists here at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center explain why an ingrown nail can be more problematic for diabetics and what we can do to help here in Bakersfield, California. 

Why ingrown nails are more problematic for diabetics

Ingrown nails are often painful, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They are problematic for these three reasons:

Reduced blood flow in your feet

Diabetes can lead to reduced blood flow (peripheral artery disease) and nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) in your lower limbs. When an ingrown toenail develops, the compromised blood flow can hinder your body's ability to effectively fight infections. 

To compound matters, nerve damage may dull or even eliminate the sensation of pain, which can make it challenging to detect the issue early. In other words, you might not even notice that there’s a problem right away.

Increased risk of infection

The combination of reduced blood flow and nerve damage increases the risk of infections. In fact, research indicates that diabetics have a greater risk of contracting nearly all types of infections, and ingrown nails are included in that list. 

An ingrown toenail, if not promptly addressed, can create an entry point for bacteria. Infections in the feet can escalate quickly and lead to more severe complications. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, oozing pus (or fluid) from your toenail, intense pain, and a fever. Your toe may also feel warm to the touch.

Infections can lead to ulcers

Diabetes can impact your body's ability to heal efficiently. Even minor wounds, such as those caused by ingrown toenails, may take longer to heal. This delayed healing process can contribute to the persistence of infections and increase the risk of secondary complications, such as ulcers.

Ulcers are particularly hard to treat on your own. They are slow-to-heal open sores that can develop when infections are left untreated. The risk of ulcers is heightened for diabetics because of the impaired healing and immune response associated with the condition. 

Ulcers can lead to their own set of complications, including the risk of gangrene, bone infections, or amputation.

Stay proactive against ingrown nails

With these complications in mind, here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of ingrown nails:

If you have diabetes and spot the signs of an ingrown nail, skip the at-home treatments and visit us here in Bakersfield, California, to get the comprehensive care you need to heal your nail and prevent complications.

Your Diabetic Foot and Wound Center provider may recommend topical solutions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and debridement.

All your diabetic foot care under one roof

Whether you’re concerned about an ingrown nail or suspect that you might have an ulcer, our team excels in diabetic foot care. Visit our walk-in wound care for urgent matters, or give us a call at 661-238-7526.

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