Like many conditions that may—or may not—respond well to home remedies, you have a choice to make whenever you notice an ingrown toenail beginning to form. This potentially painful condition can often be treated successfully at home, at least if it isn’t severe and you catch it in the early stages. However, failure to treat ingrown toenails properly can lead to significant pain and even bacterial or fungal infections, when it can become quite dangerous. So how do you know when home treatment is enough, versus when you should schedule an appointment?
First, let’s set an important ground rule. If you have diabetes or any conditions that affect the rate of blood flow to your feet, such as PAD, you should never attempt home treatments for ingrown toenails. The risk of complications is simply too great to take the chance.
However, if you are otherwise a healthy individual, and the pain and redness are relatively mild, you can consider home treatments first before making an appointment with us. Soak your feet 2-3 times per day in warm water for 20 minutes, followed by gently placing fresh cotton or floss under the ingrown edge, encouraging it to stay above the skin. Follow this up with antibiotic ointment. You should also be sure to keep pressure off the nail by wearing roomy shoes and socks.
You’ll know it’s time to pack it in and see a professional if you notice any of the following signs:
- Pain that is severe or limiting your activity
- Signs of infection, such as redness, significant swelling, or pus
- The affected area of pain and tenderness is spreading
- Symptoms do not improve or resolve within a few days to a week
- You’ve had ingrown toenails in the past
Ingrown toenails that are painful or at risk of infection can be fixed at our office. The procedure just takes a few minutes. First, we numb the toe, then carefully cut out and remove the ingrown portion and bandage you up again. We know, it sounds a little scary, but actually the process is very quick, painless, and should bring instant relief. Better yet, you can walk right out of office afterward and go straight back to your ordinary activities, with very little (if any) downtime.
If you need a little extra help for your painful ingrown toenail, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’re happy to help, and it’s always rewarding to see the wave of relief on someone’s face! Give us a call at (203) 876-7736 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel in either Milford or Hamden today.