Toenails have a pretty simple set of directions to follow—grow straight, and grow out. Yet, even they can get sidetracked. For a variety of reasons, the edge or side of the nail can get caught up in the soft flesh on the side of the toe. Over time, the ingrown nail worsens and digs deeper, increasing your pain and discomfort.
So your nail hurts and you need to get it fixed. Is this something you can do at home, or do you need to see a specialist? The short answer is, “It depends.”
In many cases, yes, if you’re a healthy individual and your ingrown toenail is mild, home care remedies may be enough to reverse the condition. You’ll want to soak your feet 3-4 times per day in warm water to soften the skin and relieve swelling and tenderness. After each soak, gently splinting the ingrown edge with a piece of waxed dental floss can, in time, help the nail grow above the skin.
However, there are many reasons why you might rather skip the home treatment and jump straight to the professional solution—after all, just because something can or might work doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.
The stakes, after all, can be surprisingly high. When left untreated, ingrown toenails can develop an infection. Wait a little longer, and that infection can fester and spread, potentially even reaching the bone. If you have diabetes or any other condition that can affect the health of your circulatory system, you should never attempt to take care into your own hands—the risk is simply too great.
Furthermore, even if you don’t have diabetes or other potentially complicating conditions, you should still see a specialist if your ingrown toenail has lasted for more than a few days without improvement, if the pain is severe, or if you notice any signs of infection (redness, pus, swelling, etc.).
At our office, we provide conservative treatments for ingrown toenails, as well as a minor surgical procedure to trim and remove the ingrown edge of the nail. This procedure typically provides immediate, overwhelming relief, and we can even make it permanent by preventing the troublesome edge from ever growing back. That’s a pretty good deal for those who struggle with recurring ingrown toenails—or who just want to be rid of the pain as quickly as possible!
To make an appointment and discuss treatment options for your ingrown nails, please contact Sierra Foot & Ankle at (775) 783-8037 today. Our offices are conveniently located in Carson City and Gardnerville, NV.