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Ingrown Toenail Specialist

Integrity Foot & Ankle Center, LLC

Patrick M. Qualtire, DPM

Podiatrist & Alternative Medicine located in Cumming, GA

If you experience an ingrown toenail, it’s important to act quickly. When left untreated, an ingrown toenail can result in an infection or other more serious complications, especially in people with diabetes or venous disease. At Integrity Foot & Ankle Center, LLC, in Cumming, Georgia, board-certified podiatrist Patrick Qualtire, DPM, provides safe, effective treatment of ingrown toenails onsite at his warm, welcoming practice. To schedule an appointment, call the office and speak with a friendly team member, or book a consultation online today.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edges of your nail grow into the soft, fleshy skin that surrounds the nail bed. Any of your toes can develop an ingrown nail, but they most commonly affect the big toe.

Usually, ingrown toenails heal on their own using conservative, over-the-counter treatments. However, if you have a chronic condition that negatively affects your circulation, more serious intervention may be necessary.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails cause minor irritation at first and get progressively more painful over time. Common indications of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Red, swollen skin
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Oozing pus
  • Pain when placing pressure on the affected toe
  • Fluid buildup around the toe

As your ingrown toenail gets worse, you might also notice that the skin around your nail becomes hard or tender.

Is there any way to prevent an ingrown toenail?

There’s no way to prevent ingrown toenails entirely, but there are several steps you can take to lower your risk. Dr. Qualtire recommends:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across
  • Keeping your toenails a moderate length
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes
  • Wearing protective footwear, like steel-toed boots

If you have diabetes or poor circulation, you should also set aside time to inspect your feet every day. This practice can alert you to problems early on when they’re most responsive to treatment.

How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed?

To diagnose an ingrown toenail, Dr. Qualtire carefully examines your feet and toes, looking for signs of swelling, redness, and general irritation. Afterward, he asks about your symptoms and lifestyle and reviews your medical history.

How is an ingrown toenail treated?

Whenever possible, Dr. Qualtire uses conservative treatments to address ingrown toenails. Following an exam and review of your symptoms, he might recommend:

Lifting the nail

If you have a mild or moderate ingrown toenail, you might benefit from lifting the nail. During this procedure, Dr. Qualtire places cotton, dental floss, or a splint under the affected nail to lift it up. This separates the nail from your skin and allows the nail to grow outward.

Partially removing the nail

If you have a severe ingrown toenail causing redness, pain, or pus, you might benefit from partial removal of the nail. During this type of treatment, Dr. Qualtire carefully trims or removes the ingrown portion of your nail. He administers a local anesthetic prior to treatment, to ensure your comfort.

Removing the nail and tissue

If you have a toe that experiences ingrown toenails regularly, a more complex surgical treatment may be necessary. Dr. Qualtire removes your toenail using chemicals or a medical-grade laser. After removing the nail, he applies topical antibiotics to prevent further infection.

Don’t let an ingrown toenail keep you from your favorite activities. Schedule an appointment at Integrity Foot & Ankle Center, LLC today. Call the office to speak with a friendly staff member, or book a consultation online today.