Ingrown Toenail

Center for Podiatric Medicine

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Chicago, IL, Schaumburg, IL, Elmhurst, IL & Highland, IN

Ingrown toenails can be painful, but you don’t have to live with this uncomfortable nail condition. The team at the Center for Podiatric Medicine in the Chicagoland area treats irritating ingrown nails so you can enjoy the physical activities you once loved. Schedule an appointment at one of the three Illinois offices in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, Schaumburg, and Elmhurst, or the one other location in Highland, Indiana. You can book by phone or online today.

Ingrown Toenail

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail happens when the edge of your toenail grows into the toe’s soft tissue. This condition often affects your big toe, but can occur with any toe. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected or cause permanent damage to your toenails.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

If you have an ingrown toenail, you may notice the following symptoms near or around the affected nail:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Tenderness

An infected ingrown toenail might be filled with pus, appear dark red in color, or be associated with cold or warm feelings in your toe. If left untreated, complications like tissue death, bone infection, or nerve damage may arise.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Factors that increase your risk of getting an ingrown toenail include:

  • Poor-fitting shoes
  • Long or short toenails
  • Foot deformities
  • Micro-trauma from sports or exercise
  • Jagged nail edges
  • Stubbing your toe
  • A fungus infection
  • Abnormal foot structure
  • Heredity

The cause of an ingrown toenail isn’t always entirely clear. Sometimes it goes away on its own or with at-home care, but other times pain gets worse as an infection spreads.

What is the treatment for an ingrown toenail?

Your podiatrist bases your treatment on how severe your ingrown toenail is, and which method best fits your needs. They may recommend:

At-home care

In many cases, you can treat an ingrown toenail at home by soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day and keeping it clean. Make sure your toenails are properly trimmed. You can apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area as well.

Oral antibiotics

If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics to help fight the infection.

Lifting or removing the nail

In severe cases of an infected ingrown toenail, your podiatrist may surgically lift or remove part of the nail. They use an anesthetic to numb the area, and remove the offending portion or the entire toenail so it can heal properly.

How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?

You can’t always prevent ingrown toenails from occurring, but there are several things you can do to lower your risk:

  • Trim your toenails straight across with no rounded edges
  • Keep your feet clean
  • Make sure your socks and shoes aren’t too tight and fit properly

If an ingrown toenail doesn’t go away on its own or you experience signs of an infection, call the Center for Podiatric Medicine today or book an appointment online.

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