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.
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.
Ingrown toenails cause minor irritation at first and get progressively more painful over time. Common indications of an ingrown toenail include:
As your ingrown toenail gets worse, you might also notice that the skin around your nail becomes hard or tender.
There’s no way to prevent ingrown toenails entirely, but there are several steps you can take to lower your risk. Dr. Qualtire recommends:
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.
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.
Whenever possible, Dr. Qualtire uses conservative treatments to address ingrown toenails. Following an exam and review of your symptoms, he might recommend:
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.
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.
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.