Podiatrist Inspecting a Patient's Ingrown ToenailWhen caught early, an ingrown toenail can usually be taken care of at home. However, if the toe has become infected, the ingrown toenail keeps coming back, the pain is interfering with your work, or you have diabetes, it is best to see a podiatrist for a more permanent solution. At Forward Foot & Ankle Center, we welcome ingrown toenail patients of all ages, whether they have insurance or not. Dr. Ramos speaks English and Spanish and has a quick and effective solution, no matter how bad your toenail is.

What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

You might have pain and redness around your big toenail and think it's just something you have to live with. What you probably have is an ingrown toenail. When the corner or side of your toenail grows into the soft flesh around it instead of resting on it, that is an ingrown nail. It almost always occurs on the big toe and results in irritation, swelling, redness, and pain. It can be caused by cutting your toenails too short, wearing shoes that are too tight, injuring your big toe or the toenail, or simply by genetics. People who get them once tend to get them again.

When to See a Podiatrist for an Ingrown Toenail

We never turn away an ingrown toenail patient, so if yours is bothering you and you just want a quick solution, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment. That said, it is not always necessary to see a podiatrist for an ingrown toenail. We do recommend that you see us in person if you have any of the following complications:

  • Your toe is infected. Signs of toenail infection, such as redness, swelling, and pus, should not be ignored. We can lift or eliminate the portion of the toenail that is cutting into the skin so that we can treat the wound with antibiotics to clear up the infection.
  • You have diabetes. If you have poor blood circulation in your feet due to diabetes or another condition, it is important that you have a doctor take care of your ingrown toenails as you would any other foot wound. Poor circulation will make it difficult for the wound to heal and could grow into a much bigger problem.
  • You are unable to wear your shoes comfortably. If the ingrown toenail is causing enough pain to prevent you from wearing your shoes, you need a fast solution so that you can go to work, work out, or take care of your children without pain.
  • Ingrown toenails are a recurring problem. Some people are prone to ingrown toenails due to an injury or genetic predisposition. If you frequently get ingrown toenails, it's time to come and see us for a permanent solution.

If your child is the one suffering from an ingrown toenail, we recommend that you bring them in for treatment. We are great with kids and can quickly resolve the problem so that it does not become a bigger issue that interferes with their freedom to play and go to school.

Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

If home remedies such as soaking the toe in warm water aren't effective, we can try some more advanced treatments in our office, including the following:

  • Lifting the nail. If caught before the nail is too deeply embedded, we can lift the nail and place cotton under it to allow it to grow out above the edge of the skin. You will have to replace the cotton daily at home and keep the area clean.
  • Placing a split. If the nail is embedded, we might be able to lift the nail after numbing the toe and slip a tiny splint under the nail, which will stay in place until the nail has grown out. This will also reduce pain and swelling.
  • Partially removing the nail. If the condition is severe or you experience ingrown toenails repeatedly, we might consider permanently removing the edge of the nail so that your toe can heal and you won't have the problem again.

After an evaluation in our office, we will opt for the least invasive treatment possible. We will likely also prescribe an antibiotic cream to promote healing and prevent infection.

Effective Ingrown Toenail Treatment in the East Bay

If you have an ingrown toenail, don't hesitate to reach out to our skin and nail care team with questions. We serve the entire East Bay area, including Pleasanton, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Tracy, and Stockton. Call us at (925) 532-0099 or fill out our contact form, and we will be in touch to discuss your options for fast, effective treatment.