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Ingrown Toenails

Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Ankeny serving greater Des Moines, IA

If you injure your toe, fail to trim your toenails straight across, or have a hereditary predisposition to your nails curling in, you’re at risk of developing ingrown toenails. Left unmanaged, ingrown toenails increase your risk of infection and other, more serious complications. Expert podiatrists Paul Dayton, DPM, MS, and Mindi Dayton, DPM, MHA at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa in Ankeny, Iowa, proudly offer safe, effective treatments for ingrown toenails. To request your appointment today, call the office or click the online scheduling tool.

Ingrown Toenails Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a common but painful condition that occurs when your nail curves downward and grows into the soft skin surrounding your nail bed. Ultimately, this causes pain, swelling, and general irritation.

If you have diabetes or another chronic medical condition that affects your circulation, ingrown toenails increase your risk of infection, gangrene, and the need for amputation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails altogether.

What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?

The symptoms of ingrown toenails vary from person to person and depend on their severity. Common telltale signs of ingrown toenails include:

  • Toe pain
  • Toe tenderness
  • Redness around the toenail
  • Swelling around the nail

As the condition gets worse, you might also notice signs of an infection, such as pus or fluid draining from your affected toenail.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur for a variety of reasons. You’re more likely to experience an ingrown toenail if:

  • You wear shoes that crowd your toes
  • You injure your toenail
  • You have unusually curved toenails

Chronic medical conditions also increase your risk. For example, people with diabetes and circulatory disorders regularly experience ingrown toenails.

Is there any way to prevent ingrown toenails?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent ingrown toenails entirely. You can take steps to lower your risk, though, including:

  • Keeping your toenails at a medium length
  • Trimming your toenails straight across
  • Wearing comfortable shoes that fit
  • Wearing protective footwear

You can also lower your risk of ingrown toenails by inspecting your feet daily. This is particularly true if you have diabetes or another circulatory disorder.

How are ingrown toenails diagnosed?

To diagnose an ingrown toenail, your Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa provider physically examines your feet and toes and asks you questions about your symptoms. Your provider also observes your toenails and the surrounding skin.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Many ingrown toenails heal on their own with conservative measures of treatment such as soaking your feet in warm water and trimming your nail appropriately. If your symptoms persist or get worse, your podiatrist might recommend partially removing the nail, or removing the nail altogether. Your doctor might also prescribe oral antibiotics or topical creams.

If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t wait to seek treatment. Request an appointment at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa today by calling the office or clicking the online scheduling tool.