Ingrown toenails can be more than just a nuisance and in more severe cases, lead to a bone infection. The Family Podiatry Center has a convenient location in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, and San Leandro, California, where qualified podiatrist Dr. William Lehrich helps you take care of your feet. Ingrown toenails can sometimes go away on their own, but many cases necessitate treatment to prevent complications. Visit Dr. Lehrich to learn more: Call one of the two offices or book your appointment online.
An ingrown toenail involves the side or corner of a toenail growing the wrong direction into the soft flesh and skin. When the edge of the nail breaks through your skin, it results in inflammation, often causing pain, redness, swelling, pus drainage, and sometimes, an infection, including a severe bone infection.
Ingrown toenails usually appear on the big toe and can go away on their own.
Diabetes and other medical conditions can result in poor blood flow to the feet and an increased risk of the complications of ingrown toenails.
An array of factors can contribute to ingrown toenails. Most commonly, they’re caused by:
To take care of your ingrown toenail at home, soak your feet in warm water for around 15 to 20 minutes, a few times a day to relieve swelling and tenderness.
You can also apply over-the-counter antibiotic creams and put bandages or padding around the toe for protection.
Dr. Lehrich typically detects an ingrown toenail in a physical exam of your nail and the surrounding skin and by discussing your symptoms. An X-ray is performed if necessary.
If your home remedies have been unsuccessful, Dr. Lehrich might recommend one or more of the following treatments.
For a slightly ingrown toenail, Dr. Lehrich carefully lifts the ingrowing nail edge and places cotton, a splint, or other material under it to separate the nail from the overlying skin and help the nail to grow above the skin edge.
A more severe ingrown toenail can be removed or trimmed in the office with or without temporary numbing.
If the problem seems to recur on the same toe, Dr. Lehrich might suggest removing a portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue. Doing so prevents that part of your nail from growing back and provides a more permanent solution.
Antibiotics and pain-relieving medications are advisable if your toe is painful and at risk of becoming infected, as well as other orthotic devices, such as separators.
For quality podiatry care that’s both proactive and reactive, call or click to book your appointment with Dr. Lehrich.