An ingrown toenail can cause severe discomfort — and it could quickly become infected without proper treatment. At Basin Podiatry in Odessa, Texas, board-certified podiatrist Hillary Brunner, DPM, provides ingrown toenail care, from preventive strategies to on-site treatment, that instantly relieves your pain. To schedule your consultation, call the office or click on the online booking tool today.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail happens when the side of a toenail grows into the flesh around it. This almost always affects the big toenail. Ingrown toenails affect approximately 20% of Americans at some point.

Many people regard ingrown toenails as a minor problem. However, ingrown toenails can become infected and turn into a serious foot problem if left untreated.

What are the signs of an ingrown toenail?

The appearance of an ingrown toenail depends on its stage.

Stage 1

In stage 1, when the ingrown toenail starts to grow into the flesh, you’ll typically have minor redness at the corner of the nail and the flesh feels tender or sore.

Stage 2

In stage 2, infection develops and pain intensifies. The skin grows redder and swells. New bright red tissue appears at the corner of the nail and it leaks fluid and pus.

Stage 3

In stage 3, you’ll typically have even more new tissue growth, which can cover the corner of the nail. Skin is usually very red and painful, with a lot of pus leakage.

Ingrown toenails can be very painful — and they may lead to bone infections, toe ulcers, and other major complications.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails may occur for reasons such as:

  • Cutting your toenails too short or in a curved shape
  • Wearing shoes that squeeze the toes
  • Accidents like stubbing your toe
  • Genetic predisposition to curved nails

Conditions that affect your nerve and vascular function, like diabetes, aren’t the direct cause of ingrown toenails. However those problems dramatically increase your risk of developing ingrown toenail complications. Therefore, diabetic foot care is crucial for everyone living with the disease.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Treatment depends on the stage of the ingrown toenail, your symptoms, and your risk for complications. Dr. Brunner usually uses strategies like lifting and splinting the nail or removing the ingrown nail edge. You’ll also receive either topical or oral antibiotics if you have an infection.

If you have recurrent ingrown nails, Dr. Brunner provides effective prevention tips. In the most severe cases, Dr. Brunner may recommend a simple in-office procedure to remove a section of the nail, including the nail’s growth center. This prevents regrowth but leaves you with most of your nail.

To receive comprehensive care for ingrown toenails, call the Basin Podiatry office or click on the online booking tool today.