Ingrown toenails are a common foot problem. They develop when the edge of your toenail grows into the skin of your toe, and they’re often painful.

Anyone can get an ingrown toenail, and your risk increases if you clip your toenails too short or suffer an injury that damages a nail. Unfortunately, ingrown nails can get infected easily and lead to painful complications or the spread of infection.

Identifying and treating your ingrown nail early helps it heal and reduces the chances of infection. Bryon Butts, DPM, and our team at Performance Footcare PC can help. Read on for our at-home care tips and find out when it’s time to make a podiatrist appointment.

At-home treatment for an ingrown toenail

At first, an ingrown toenail typically causes mild redness and pain along the side of your toe. So if you notice that your toe is sore after cutting your nails too short, start at-home treatment as soon as possible to promote healing.

There are a few things you can try at home to treat minor ingrown nails. Soak your foot in warm water for about 20 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling and pain. Always take care to dry your feet thoroughly after each soak.

Apply antibiotic ointment to your toe and bandage it to keep bacteria out and lower your risk of infection. If wearing socks and shoes irritates your toe, consider wearing open-toed shoes until the nail grows a bit longer.

Never try to remove the part of your nail that’s ingrown, and don’t trim the nail yourself unless you can clearly see the edge of it. If you’re treating your ingrown nail at home, watch for signs of infection as it heals.

When to go to the podiatrist for an ingrown nail

Minor ingrown toenails can heal on their own as the nail grows out. However, severe or infected ingrown nails require professional medical care. 

It’s important to learn the signs of an ingrown nail infection so you know when it’s time to go to the doctor. Symptoms often include:

  • Drainage, like blood or pus
  • Significant swelling
  • Warmth
  • Worsening pain

If your nail is infected, it won’t heal on its own. The only way to treat the infection and prevent painful complications is to visit a podiatrist like Dr. Butts for ingrown nail care.

Podiatric care for ingrown toenails

Dr. Butts and our team at Performance Footcare PC offer a range of treatments for ingrown toenails. Minor ingrown nails may benefit from a small splint, which lifts the nail so it grows away from your skin.

For infected ingrown nails, Dr. Butts may prescribe antibiotics or a topical antimicrobial solution. If you get recurring ingrown nails, he may recommend removing part or all of the toenail to eliminate your ingrown nail problems.

All ingrown toenails require a little TLC. Minor cases may heal on their own with at-home care, but remember that going to the podiatrist is essential if you think your ingrown nail might be infected. To learn more about ingrown toenail treatments at Performance Footcare PC, contact us online or over the phone today.

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