The signs of an ingrown toenail can include pain, redness, and swelling of the affected toe. If you notice symptoms, Roxanne Burgess, DPM, and the team at Queen City Foot and Ankle Specialists in Charlotte, North Carolina, can help you achieve long-lasting relief. The team works with you to determine the most effective way to eliminate your pain and prevent your ingrown toenail from recurring. To speak with a foot and ankle specialist about your ingrown toenail, call the office or book your visit online today.

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What causes ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail happens when the corners of your toenail grow into the soft flesh of your toe. The skin surrounding the affected toenail becomes tender, swollen, and eventually, infected. There are a number of different factors that can contribute to ingrown toenails.

The most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming. Cutting your nails too short or at an angle puts you at an increased risk or ingrown toenails. Wearing tight-fitting shoes (like high heels) can crowd your toes and increase pressure on your big toe, leading to an ingrown toenail. Nail injuries and abnormally curled nails can also lead to ingrown toenails.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

There are a number of signs that indicate an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails cause pain and swelling as the sides of your nail press against the surrounding soft tissue. The skin surrounding the nail becomes tender and may become hard or start to bleed. In some cases, the skin may ooze pus, an indication of infection.

Left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to a serious infection that can spread to the underlying bone. Ingrown toenails are especially hazardous to people with diabetes and conditions that impair blood flow to the feet. If you experience painful symptoms, Dr. Burgess and her team can help you achieve prompt, effective relief.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Treatment for your ingrown toenail depends on the severity of your condition. Dr. Burgess typically diagnoses ingrown toenails through a simple physical exam. She may perform an X-ray to see how deep the nail has grown into the skin of your toe. In most cases, Dr. Burgess begins with conservative treatment. To treat your ingrown toenail, she gently lifts the nail and places a piece of cotton to separate the nail from the surrounding skin. This technique alleviates your pain and helps your nail grow above the skin.

If your condition is severe or recurring, Dr. Burgess may recommend partial or total removal of the nail. The procedure effectively relieves your pain and prevents you from getting ingrown toenails in the future. To find out which treatment is right for your ingrown toenail, book an appointment by phone or online today.