Let’s face it: some problems are more than able to be handled on your own.
You don’t need to call a plumber if all your toilet needs is a good plunger-ing. You don’t need to call a chef if you’re making a box of macaroni and cheese.
And you don’t always need to call a podiatrist if you have an ingrown toenail.
A minor ingrown toenail can often be cared for at home without much trouble (we will have more advice on this later on). However, there are cases when having a podiatrist take a look at your nail(s) will save you a lot of pain and additional trouble.
We will be outlining some situations where you may want to consider giving us a call for your ingrown toenail. That doesn’t mean these are the only cases when you should call us, though. Anytime you have questions about your feet and ankles, don’t be afraid to contact our office!
Your Ingrown Toenail Really Hurts or Has Hurt for a Long Time
A little pain should be expected with any ingrown nail. It’s digging down into your skin, after all!
But an ingrown toenail that’s too painful to touch is a good sign that you might have a problem that won’t be so easy to treat at home. Give our office a call and let us know what’s going on. We may either give you advice on how to relieve your pain or tell you to come on in for a closer look.
The same goes for any pain that has not improved after two or three days of at-home treatment, and especially if the pain has become worse. Don’t stick it out; get some professional assistance!
Your Ingrown Toenail is Showing Signs of Infection
A regular ingrown toenail can be fine to treat on its own. An ingrown toenail with an infection, though? Not so much.
Signs of infection can include the following:
- Drainage of pus around the nail.
- Redness that is spreading away from the toe, often looking like streaks.
- Pain that is growing worse.
- Fever or chills.
- Aching joints or muscles.
Once again, an infected toe is not something to wait on. Call us right away!
You Keep Getting Ingrown Toenails
Let’s go back to our toilet analogy from earlier. Giving it the plunger is a simple fix you can do at home, and it tends to be effective.
But what if your toilet keeps clogging every other week, and you keep having to pull that plunger out? Would you call a plumber then? Of course you would!
Having an ingrown toenail once in a great while can be normal. If you are regularly finding yourself having to care for an ingrown nail, however, there is likely an underlying cause that must be addressed.
Shoes that are too tight in the toe box can be one culprit for recurring ingrown nails. So can trimming your nails improperly (you should cut straight across and not all the way down to the cuticle—remember that).
But even if you switch your shoes and trim like a champ, your toenails might still curve inward. In some cases, people are simply genetically fated to have this happen.
We can help you determine the underlying causes of why you get so many ingrown toenails and provide recommended treatment or advice in each case. If a toenail is just naturally inclined to cause you trouble, the best option may be to remove it permanently. This procedure is performed in-office with local anesthesia and will take care of the discomfort for good.
You Have Diabetes
You should not take matters into your own hands if you have an ingrown toenail and also live with diabetes—at least not without letting us know what’s going on.
The reason for this is straightforward: diabetes has a way, over time, of really throwing a wrench into the health of your feet.
Not only does nerve damage from diabetes gradually leave your feet less and less able to sense the pain that might be coming from an ingrown toenail, it can also significantly reduce the ability of your foot to heal from damage. That increases your risk of infection, which can lead to even worse consequences.
If you have diabetes, it is wisest to check your feet once per day for signs of problems, then letting us know if you find them. We can advise you on how to best approach the situation, or tell you it would be better if you came in instead.
We’ll Help You Make the Call
If you wish to take care of a minor ingrown toenail at home, a simple routine is to soak your foot in warm water several times a day for 15-20 minutes. Thoroughly dry the foot, then place a small piece of cotton or dental floss beneath the ingrown edge of the nail, helping to guide it outward. Apply an antibiotic cream and bandage.
But if that doesn’t start helping things after a couple days, things get worse, or you simply just have some questions about your nails, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our offices in Gilbert and Chandler are always happy to hear from you.
Simply call (877) 866-2417 to reach either location, or fill out our online contact form if you feel so inclined. A member of our staff will get back to you if you do.
We won’t answer any questions about plumbing, though.