Ingrown Toenail Specialist

Desert Foot & Ankle

Podiatry & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Mesa, AZ & Phoenix, AZ

You may not think an ingrown toenail is a serious enough problem to seek medical care, but if it’s causing pain or a recurring problem, a podiatrist can help. The team of board-certified podiatrists at Desert Foot and Ankle in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, are experienced in providing pain relief and preventive care for ingrown toenails. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking tool.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What is an ingrown toenail?

A toenail is “ingrown” when the corner or side starts to grow into the surrounding skin. Usually, ingrown toenails affect your big toe, but can occur on any toe. Symptoms include pain and redness, and the area is at risk of infection, which can lead to pus draining from the area.

Ingrown toenails usually happen because you don’t properly trim your nails, either cutting them too short or into rounded or irregular ends. They commonly affect children, who may struggle with foot grooming and hygiene.

Your risk of an ingrown toenail also increases if:

  • You practice poor foot hygiene
  • Your socks or shoes are too tight
  • You recently injured your toe
  • You have poor posture

You can treat many ingrown toenails at home. However, if the pain is interfering with your everyday life, your symptoms are getting worse, or if the nail becomes infected, you should schedule an appointment at Desert Foot and Ankle.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

Most ingrown toenails are minor and heal within 2-4 days with simple at-home care. If you’re experiencing only slight discomfort from your ingrown toenail, you should:

  • Soak your feet in warm water 15-20 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day
  • After soaking, apply antibiotic ointment or cream to the affected area and cover it with a bandage
  • Wear open-toed shoes to avoid irritating the affected toe

An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help you manage any pain or discomfort while your ingrown toenail heals.

Be sure to schedule an appointment at Desert Foot and Ankle if your ingrown toenail isn’t going away with at-home care or appears to be infected. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • The area has gotten redder and more swollen
  • Drainage (pus) from area
  • Worsening pain
  • A foul smell coming from the area

The first line treatment for infection is a course of antibiotics. If the antibiotics don’t clear the infection, your podiatrist can perform surgery to remove the affected portion of the nail. This is an outpatient procedure you receive while under local anesthetic.

How can I prevent ingrown toenails?

You can prevent ingrown toenails by:

  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short
  • Wear footwear that fits properly without rubbing against your toes
  • Keep your feet and nails clean
  • Allow your feet to breathe after you run, play soccer, and other forms of high-impact exercise

Your podiatrist at Desert Foot and Ankle can teach you or your child to follow these important foot care practices.

If an ingrown toenail is causing you or your child pain, or ingrown toenails are a recurring problem for either of you, schedule an appointment at Desert Foot and Ankle online or over the phone.