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Ingrown Toenails: Symptoms, Management, And More

By May 16, 2022 No Comments

As podiatrists, we see a variety of conditions on a daily basis. One of the most common ones we treat is Ingrown Toenails.
When it comes to ingrown toenails, it is vital to know the symptoms to avoid infection. When you know ingrown toenail symptoms, you can treat the condition before it turns into something more serious. We’ve put together this article to educate you on ingrown toenail symptoms, management, etc.

Read on to learn more

What Are Ingrown Toenails?

Before we move on to ingrown toenail symptoms, treatment and management, it would help to make it clear exactly what an ingrown toenail infection is and how it’s caused.

Ingrown toenail infections occur when the corner tip or edge of your toenail pokes into the skin surrounding it, instead of freely growing outwards. The toe that’s most likely to suffer from this issue is your big toe since it’s usually the one that’s most in contact with your footwear.

This condition is potentially very painful and can affect pretty much anyone, of all ages. Left untreated, an ingrown toenail infection can lead to other infections that may even spread into the underlying bone structure of your feet.
If you have a condition that reduces the blood flow to your feet, like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, you’re more likely to suffer from an ingrown toenail. In fact, if you suffer from any of these conditions, your ingrown toenail can turn sour very quickly and lead to severe complications. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms early on and treat it accordingly.

Ingrown toenails are treatable at home, but at-home treatments can lead to complications if not carried out properly and hygienically. These complications will require immediate attention from a podiatrist or medical practitioner.

Ingrown Toenails Symptoms

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to catch ingrown toenail symptoms in the beginning in order to avoid developing an infection. The leading cause of ingrown toenail infections is negligence and lack of knowledge when it comes to ingrown toenail symptoms.

Now that you know what an ingrown toenail is and why it’s important to know its symptoms early on, we can tell you what to look out for when self-diagnosing an ingrown toenail infection.

You may have an ingrown toenail infection if you have any of the following symptoms

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Pain when you touch the area 
  • You feel pressure under your affected toenail 
  • Throbbing sensations in the area 
  • A foul smell coming from the affected area
  • Warmth in and around the infected area (this is your body’s way of telling you that you have an infection, while also fighting off said infection)
  • Hardened skin around the affected nail, accompanied by redness
  • You may experience a build-up/ooze of fluid in the affected area
  • Your nail is thick, yellowing, or cracked. This is a key symptom of a fungal infection and must never be ignored 
  • You may even develop an abscess that fills with pus, in the area where your nail has punctured your skin 
  • The edges of your nail have an overgrowth of new and inflamed tissue 

Just like any other medical issue, an ingrown toenail starts with minor symptoms that can later on become more serious if not tended to. You must always try to identify an issue when it’s in its budding stage so you can take care of it before it gets too serious.

What Causes Ingrown Toenail Infections?

As we said earlier, the leading cause of ingrown toenail infections is a lack of understanding/negligence. When you have an ingrown nail, it is important to treat it with utmost care so as to not let it get infected. If you notice an ingrown nail, you must treat it so you can prevent infections from spreading into your foot. 

You can get ingrown toenails from cutting your toenails too short or keeping them too long, wearing improper footwear, angled nail cutting, toenail injury, and poor foot hygiene. 

Sometimes, it’s genetic too. If you have a genetic predisposition to having curved toenails, you are at high risk for ingrowths and infections. 

The best way to prevent these infections is to maintain proper foot hygiene, remember to cut your nails straight, wear shoes that fit you comfortably and check in with your podiatrist if something seems amiss.

Am I Susceptible To Ingrown Toenail Infections?

This condition is potentially very painful and can affect pretty much anyone, of all ages. Left untreated, an ingrown toenail infection can lead to other infections that may even spread into the underlying bone structure of your feet.
If you have a condition that reduces the blood flow to your feet, like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, you’re more likely to suffer from an ingrown toenail. In fact, if you suffer from any of these conditions, your ingrown toenail can turn sour very quickly and lead to severe complications. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms early on and treat it accordingly.

Ingrown toenails are treatable at home, but at-home treatments can lead to complications if not carried out properly and hygienically. These complications will require immediate attention from a podiatrist or medical practitioner. 

How To Manage An Ingrown Toenail

Another very important thing to take care of is ingrown toenail management. When you have an ingrown toenail, and you practice ingrown toenail management, you are generally safe from fungus and infection. Good foot care and hygiene is very important. Here’s how you can go about ingrown toenail management: 

  • NEVER yank or pull on your nail! This can break the skin severely and lead to horrendous complications. You might be able to access your ingrown toenail by lifting your skin gently with a piece of floss. Just make sure to never force it open, and also ensure that your hands are sanitised and clean before you try to treat your ingrown toenail infection.
  • To drain the affected area of pus and to reduce your pain, you must fill a bucket with warm water and add Epsom salt or coarse salt to it. Then, gently soak your foot in this solution so your skin softens around your ingrown toenail.
  • After softening your skin and draining it of any pus, you can put an antibiotic/antifungal lotion or cream on the nail and the skin around and under it. Apply the cream directly.
  • If your pain is unbearable, you can take an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to help with it. Apart from this, you can also take OTC medications to reduce swelling and discomfort. If the pain truly is unbearable, though, we suggest seeing a podiatrist instead of jumping into OTC medications and trying to treat it on your own.

After you’ve tried all of the above, if your pain and infection persist after a few days, it’s advisable to visit a podiatrist. They’ll be able to lift and access the underpart of your nail much easier, so your topical antibiotics can be applied swiftly and can take effect better.

Conclusion 

We hope this article helped you understand ingrown toenails, symptoms, and management better. If you think you may have an ingrown toenail, it’s best to treat it as soon as possible to avoid a nasty infection from developing.

Looking for reliable podiatrists to help you out? Book an appointment with Bucksfoot Clinic for the best ingrown toenail treatment in town.

Please call us on  0800 107 3290 / 077 99 122 099 Or contact us now