When Should You See a Doctor for an Ingrown Toenail?

If you’re struggling with a painful ingrown toenail, you may be thinking about cutting it out yourself — but this can make matters worse. Instead, learn when to see a podiatrist for an ingrown toenail and how you can prevent future ingrown toenails.

Foot with infected toenail on gray background. Patient needs foot doctor in Beverly Hills

If you’ve noticed pain around the sides of your toenail, you might be dealing with an ingrown toenail. This is a fairly common condition that affects around 18% of adults. Since ingrown toenails can get really painful, you may be tempted to dig the nail out yourself — but this can actually make things much worse.

Read on to learn when you should see a foot specialist in Beverly Hills for ingrown nails and what you can do to help prevent them from happening in the future.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin. Common things that can cause ingrown toenails include:

  • Cutting your toenails too short, rounding the edges, or cutting them at a sharp angle

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow which can put pressure on the toes

  • Injuring your toe, either by stubbing it or dropping something heavy on it

  • Being genetically prone to ingrown toenails due to the shape or structure of your nails

  • Having certain medical conditions, like diabetes or peripheral artery disease

How to Tell If You Have an Ingrown Toenail

One of the most obvious signs of an ingrown toenail is pain alongside the side of the affected toe. This pain may get worse when pressure is applied — like when you’re standing, walking, or wearing shoes. The area around the nail may also be tender to the touch, swollen, or appear red.

In some cases, there may also be some pus or drainage from the affected area. This is usually a sign of infection and should be cared for by a foot specialist as soon as possible.

Is It Safe to Cut My Ingrown Toenail Out Myself?

As tempting as it can be to cut your ingrown toenail out yourself, doing this can make things worse — like causing you more pain, damaging the nail bed, or causing an infection. If you have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, poor circulation, or a weakened immune system, attempting to remove an ingrown toenail on your own could lead to a serious infection.

Cutting out your ingrown toenail also makes it more likely to return and may worsen when it does grow back.

When Should You See a Doctor for an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to serious complications if not taken care of properly. You should see a foot specialist if you have any of the following symptoms:

  1. Signs of infection: Signs of an infected ingrown toenail include toe pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and pus. An infection near your toenail can lead to serious complications if left untreated — especially for people with diabetes.

  2. Chronic or recurring ingrown toenails: If you have chronic or recurring ingrown toenails, you may need to have the toenail removed by a foot specialist.

  3. Pain or difficulty walking: If your ingrown toenail is interfering with daily activities, it’s time to see a podiatrist.

There are a few treatment options for ingrown toenails, including simple wedges to help the nail grow properly to full removal of the nail. The more severe an ingrown nail is, the more complex the treatment may be. This is why it is important to see a podiatrist as soon as you notice symptoms of an ingrown toenail.

How Can I Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are steps you can take to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your toenails healthy and avoid ingrown nails:

  1. Trim your toenails properly: Cut your toenails straight across, avoiding rounding the corners or cutting them too short. Additionally, you should always use a clean nail clipper or file to avoid tearing or ripping your nails.

  2. Wear well-fitting shoes: Tight-fitting shoes can put pressure on your toes, leading to ingrown nails. Be sure to wear shoes that fit well and have enough space for your toes.

  3. Protect your toes from injury: Wear protective shoes when playing sports or performing activities that can cause injury to your feet, such as yard work or construction.

If you find it difficult to trim your toenails properly, you can try soaking your feet in warm water first. This will help soften your toenails and prevent cracking or ripping the nail when you cut it.

Finding the Best Foot Specialist in Beverly Hills to Relieve Ingrown Toenail Pain

At Foot and Ankle Specialty Group in Beverly Hills, we know how painful and debilitating an ingrown toenail can be. Ingrown toenail repair is one of the many procedures we perform for our patients, with the highest standard of care. Our goal is always to eliminate your pain and restore your ability to walk and live with ease. We accomplish these goals using modern treatment techniques, cutting-edge technology, and, most importantly, by listening intently to the needs of every patient.

Dr. David Soomekh and our team of experts at Foot and Ankle Specialty Group offer the latest in podiatry excellence, including custom-made orthotics, 3D CT scanning, laser therapy, microwave therapy, PRP therapy, and stem cell therapy.

Ready to get relief from ingrown toenails by the best foot and ankle specialists in Beverly Hills?

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