Ingrown toenails are a real pain, both literally and figuratively. They happen when the sharp edge of your nail grows into the soft surrounding skin, causing inflammation and even making it hard to wear shoes comfortably.
If you have pain, swelling, or redness along the side of your toenail, it could be an ingrown nail — and you’re probably wondering what to do about it. Most ingrown toenails require care to heal properly, and you can try a few strategies at home before scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
Our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas offers ingrown toenail care, and here’s what you need to know about the signs and symptoms, how to treat them at home, and when it’s time to seek professional medical treatment.
The symptoms of an ingrown toenail
When the edge of your toenail grows into the skin nearby, it causes irritation, redness, and pain. Ingrown nails are most common on your big toes, but they can happen on any toe.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Pain along the side of your toe
- Tenderness to the touch
- Pain when trimming your toenail
Sometimes, ingrown toenails get infected. Look for signs of infection, like pus, worsening pain, and warmth along the side of your toe.
How to treat your ingrown toenail at home
If you notice your ingrown nail early and your symptoms are mild, you can try a few home remedies to encourage healing.
Start by soaking your foot in warm water for about 15-20 minutes, a few times a day, to help soften the skin and reduce swelling. After thoroughly drying your feet and toes, consider applying an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment and covering the affected toe with a clean bandage.
Watch your toe closely for signs of infection. If your ingrown nail doesn’t start feeling better or it worsens in the next few days, it’s time to go to the doctor.
When to go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail
Home remedies can be effective for mild ingrown nails, but more severe cases necessitate professional care. You should go to the doctor if you have:
- Pain that interferes with your daily activities
- Signs of infection, like pus, warmth, and increased swelling
- Recurring ingrown toenails
- Underlying health issues, like poor circulation or diabetes
- Ingrown nail complications, like an abscess
Our Medical Associates of North Texas team is here to diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan. Depending on your needs, we can lift your toenail, start treatment for infection, and recommend strategies to prevent future ingrown toenails.
Remember: some mild ingrown toenails can heal on their own with proper home care, but you should never put your health at risk. Ignoring an ingrown toenail can lead to complications far worse than the initial discomfort.
To learn more about ingrown toenail treatment and get the care you need, schedule an appointment at Medical Associates of North Texas in Fort Worth. Call our office at 972-433-7178 or send us a message online today.