When Does an Ingrown Toenail Warrant Professional Care?

Nov 01, 2023
When Does an Ingrown Toenail Warrant Professional Care?
Does an ingrown toenail cause severe pain or keep coming back? These are common signs you should schedule an appointment for professional care.

Ingrown toenails are a common foot ailment experienced by many. Often, they're associated with minor pain or discomfort, and with good self-care, they can heal without complications. But how can you tell the difference between a routine ingrown toenail and one that requires the attention of a foot specialist? 

At Renew Foot & Ankle, LLC, in Grand Rapids and Bigfork, Minnesota, double board-certified podiatrist Dr. Eric Gilbertson, DPM, FACFAS, helps countless patients manage and treat their ingrown toenails, and here’s our expert advice on when you should seek professional care.

1. Signs of infection

While minor ingrown toenails can be uncomfortable, signs of infection indicate that you must see a professional. If the skin around the toenail becomes red, swollen, warm to the touch, or secretes pus, these are signs that the toenail has caused an infection. Any accompanying fever or chills also indicate a more severe issue requiring medical intervention.

2. Chronic ingrown toenails

Some individuals may experience recurring ingrown toenails due to the natural shape of their nails, incorrect cutting techniques, or footwear choices. If you're consistently dealing with the discomfort of an ingrown toenail on the same or multiple toes, it's time to get a professional's perspective. A recurring issue can be addressed with a more permanent solution under the guidance of an experienced podiatrist like Dr. Gilbertson.

3. Severe pain and discomfort

While some pain is expected with an ingrown toenail, intense or unbearable pain is not normal and should be addressed by a professional. If you find daily activities such as walking, standing, or wearing shoes extremely painful because of the toenail, it’s a sign that the issue may be more than just a minor ailment.

4. Underlying health conditions

For individuals with diabetes, vascular diseases, or other health conditions affecting blood flow to the feet, even a minor ingrown toenail can quickly escalate to a significant problem. The risk of complications, infections, and slow healing is higher for these individuals. If you have health concerns and are dealing with an ingrown toenail, call or schedule an appointment with Dr. Gilbertson online.

5. Unsuccessful home remedies

Many people first try home treatments for ingrown toenails, like warm saltwater soaks or over-the-counter treatments. While these can be effective in some cases, if you've tried these methods without improvement after several days, it's a sign that you should schedule an appointment with Renew Foot and Ankle.

Ingrown toenails might seem like a minor concern, but when left untreated or improperly managed, they can lead to complications that significantly impact your foot health and overall well-being. At Renew Foot & Ankle, LLC, we believe in proactive care. If you identify with any of the above conditions, don’t hesitate - call the office or schedule an appointment online.