When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require a Trip to the Podiatrist?

When Does an Ingrown Toenail Require a Trip to the Podiatrist?

An ingrown toenail is one of the most common issues that can affect your feet. In some cases, if you apply proper home care — like keeping the area clean and dry — an ingrown toenail will correct itself. 

But if your ingrown toenail doesn’t go away quickly, it can leave you with discomfort when you wear shoes or walk. And left untreated, an ingrown toenail can create an infection that may spread to your bone.

To ensure your ingrown toenail doesn’t become a significant issue, Dr. David J. Kaplan offers dedicated care for this issue at our FootCare Specialist, Inc. offices in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California. 

Our team wants to help you understand this common problem and when it might merit a trip to see us. Let’s first examine the causes and symptoms of ingrown toenails. 

Common causes of ingrown toenails 

You have an ingrown toenail when the front edge or side of a toenail digs painfully into the soft tissue at the outer edges of your nail bed. Healthy toenails, on the other hand, grow straight out from the nail grooves.

Some of the biggest factors that contribute to the development of ingrown toenails include:

Ingrown toenails are most common on the big toe, but any toenail can grow inward. Your nail might be ingrown on one or both sides of the nail.  

The symptoms of an ingrown nail

In the beginning, the symptoms of an ingrown toenail are usually mild. You might experience a twinge of discomfort when you touch the affected nail, wiggle your toes, or squeeze into any shoes with a tight toe box, for example.   

Over time, though, the ingrown toenail can get worse, causing symptoms like:

 At that point, Dr. Kaplan can help. 

When to visit us 

If you have diabetes or another medical condition that affects circulation in your feet, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recommends seeing a podiatrist as soon as you notice the ingrown toenail. 

If you have healthy feet, you can wait to make an appointment with Dr. Kaplan until the ingrown toenail causes pain, or you notice redness, swelling, or other signs of problems. 

Generally, you can try at-home care for about a week, but don’t wait to seek treatment if it doesn’t heal by then. Even otherwise healthy individuals can develop an infection that may quickly spread to the bone of the affected toe. 

Preventing ingrown toenails

You can do a lot to lessen the likelihood of ingrown toenails, including:

Whenever you need ingrown toenail care, Dr. Kaplan is here. Call the office nearest you or book your appointment online today. 

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