An ingrown toenail is a painful condition that may increase your risk of more serious problems, like an infection. At Katy Foot & Ankle, PLLC, Nicolas Manriquez, DPM, FACFAS, diagnoses and treats ingrown toenails in people of all ages. To make an appointment at the practice in Katy, Texas, call the office and speak with a friendly team member or book online.

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What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when a nail grows into the surrounding skin instead of out and away from the toe. Most ingrown toenails aren’t serious, but if you have diabetes, they can result in potentially serious complications.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Common symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Increased sensitivity

If the nail continues to grow into your skin, you might also experience signs of an infection, like pus.

Do ingrown toenails increase the risk of more serious problems?

If an ingrown toenail goes undetected, an infection can develop and spread to your bone or surrounding tissue. That sequence of events is particularly dangerous for people with diabetes and other circulatory issues because they might not realize there’s a problem until it’s too late.

Poorly managed diabetes often results in nerve damage. If the nerves in your feet and toes don’t function properly, you won’t feel pain. If the infection progresses, it can result in gangrene or in severe instances, amputation.

How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?

To lower your risk of an ingrown toenail, Katy Foot & Ankle, PLLC recommends:

  • Inspecting your feet regularly
  • Wearing comfortable shoes with room for your toes
  • Keeping your toenails trimmed
  • Trimming your nails straight across

If you work a job that increases the risk of a stubbed toe or other similar injuries, you might also want to consider wearing steel toed boots.

How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose an ingrown toenail, the team at Katy Foot & Ankle, PLLC examines your foot and asks about your symptoms. If they’re concerned about the risk of an infection, they might also take a series of X-rays.

Following a comprehensive assessment, the team might recommend one of the following treatments:

Lifting the nail

If your toe is only slightly red and not infected, the team lifts the nail. They place a splint or piece of cotton beneath the nail, allowing it to grow out and away from the toe.

Partially removing the nail

If your toe is red and oozing pus, the team might recommend partially removing the nail. They numb your toe with a local anesthetic and remove the portion of the nail that’s growing into your skin.

Completely removing the nail

If you regularly experience ingrown nails on the same toe, the team might recommend removing the nail completely. To do this, they use medical-grade chemicals like salicylic acid or targeted laser energy.

To receive treatment for an ingrown toenail, make an appointment at Katy Foot & Ankle, PLLC. Click the online booking tool or call to speak with the administrative team today.