Alan J. Rosen, DPM, PC
Podiatrist located in Upper East Side, New York, NY
Many ingrown toenails respond well to home treatment. But when your ingrown toenail is infected or if you have diabetes, it’s time to see Dr. Alan J. Rosen, a podiatrist on the Upper East Side of New York City. In these cases, ingrown toenails can be painful or they may introduce complications that put your foot health at risk. Don’t delay, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Ingrown Toenail Q & A
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails may stem from unusually curved nails, foot injuries that damage your toenail, trimming the nail with too much curve, or cutting it too short. Even your choice of footwear can crowd your toes and toenails, causing the inward growth. If you leave an ingrown nail untreated, it may become infected and potentially spread that infection to the bone, a serious complication.
If you have diabetes, poor blood flow to your feet can make any ingrown toenail situation more serious, because regular healing may not progress. Nerve damage, along with the poor blood flow, may also mask the warning signs of the ingrown nail, so an infection may begin before you realize there’s an issue. Seek treatment with Dr. Rosen at the first sign of trouble.
How do I treat a minor ingrown toenail at home?
The first step is prevention. Good foot care helps stop ingrown nails before they happen. Observe these habits to reduce your chances of trouble:
- Check your feet regularly for signs of trouble, particularly if you have diabetes
- Trim nails straight to prevent undergrowth at the sides
- Trim nails to a moderate length, long enough so that pressure from footwear doesn’t push nails under
- Wear protective footwear if you’re exposed to potential foot injuries
- Avoid tight or narrow shoes, which may influence the direction of nail growth
If an ingrown nail starts, begin treatment as soon as possible, including these steps:
- Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes, several times a day to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Apply an antibiotic gel or cream to combat potential infection
- Choose roomy, sensible footwear until the nail’s condition improves
How does a podiatrist treat ingrown toenails?
Treatment depends on the advancement of the ingrown nail. For mild cases, Dr. Rosen may duplicate home care techniques, propping up the corner of the nail and recommending soaks and oral antibiotics. More severe conditions may require significant trimming of the ingrown nail, or partial removal of the toenail and nail bed underneath to encourage flatter regrowth. Complete toenail removal procedures are typically rare.
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