In many cases, ingrown toenails can be successfully treated at home, but sometimes, it's best to see your foot doctor for care. Dr. Michael Stegman and Dr. John Erotas, your Scottsdale, AZ podiatrists at American Foot & Ankle Specialists, discuss a few times that you shouldn't treat ingrown toenails at home.
When ingrown toenail care is better left to the professionals
It's hard to believe that the tiny sliver of nail at the edge of your toe can cause so many problems. Unfortunately, if the nail becomes wedged deeply in the soft tissue of your toe, it can be difficult to remove yourself. Since ingrown toenails don't just go away on their own, it's a good idea to call your podiatrist in these cases:
- Your Toe is Infected: When your nail pierces your skin, it provides a pathway for bacteria to enter your toe. Signs of infection include pain, swelling, pus or red streaks on your toe. If you don't treat the infection with antibiotics, it can spread to other parts of your foot and your leg.
- You Have Diabetes: High blood sugar interferes with healing and can make it more difficult to overcome an infection caused by an ingrown toenail. If you have an ingrown toenail and you have diabetes, call your podiatrist as soon as you notice the problem. Ingrown toenails can lead to serious infections of your foot and leg.
- Ingrown Toenails are a Frequent Problem: Some people are prone to developing ingrown toenails. The problem can occur if your toenail is curved or if you frequently wear shoes that are too tight. In some cases, your podiatrist may recommend removing the section of the nail that causes the problem to prevent further issues.
- You Can't Loosen the Nail Edge at Home: It's often possible to pry the edge of your nail free with a piece of cotton after soaking your foot in warm water. If you can't free the nail easily, it's time to visit your podiatrist.
Do you have ingrown toenails or other foot or ankle problem? Call Drs. Stegman and Erotas, your Scottsdale and Sun City, AZ podiatrists at American Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule an appointment.