An ingrown toenail is painful and occurs when the skin on the side of the toenail grows over the edge of the nail, or when the nail curves and grows into the skin. It won’t go away on its own, and you should never try to fix it yourself.  “Bathroom surgery” can make the problem worse, cause more trauma and make it harder to treat.

What are the signs?

–                   Pain in the toenail area

–                   Oddly shaped or smaller than normal toenail

–                   Tenderness in the area

–                   Pain with pressure of shoes

–                   Swelling and redness around the nail area

If you ignore these warning signs, it can lead to an infection.  If it does become infected, you may notice a discharge from around the nail and the toe will be very red and hot to the touch. An uncontrolled infection can easily spread to the bone, which is dangerous.

URGENT:  If you have diabetes you should see your foot doctor at the first sign of an ingrown nail or any other issue with your feet.  No matter how minor you may think it is, if you are living with diabetes, a small problem can become a major problem very quickly.

What’s the treatment?

Treatment involves removing the portion of nail or skin that’s creating the problem and then treating the area for infection. In many cases, this will resolve the problem and it will not recur.  However, some people find that they get ingrown toenails over and over. 

If you suffer from ingrown toenails on a regular basis a more permanent procedure is available. This involves reshaping the nail so that it becomes narrow and less likely to grow into the skin.

So many times, a patient will delay going in to see the doctor because they are afraid the treatment will hurt. The fact is, an ingrown nail is painful on its own, and the treatment can start to make it feel better almost right away. The sooner you notice the condition and get help, the faster you will feel relief. Patients often say, “I feel so much better than when I came in, I shouldn’t have waited so long to get help.”