A common question asked by people is: when is the right time to see a podiatrist for an ingrown toenail? During peak sports seasons, our office always has an increase in number of patients with ingrown toenail complaints. Sports trauma are a common reason for development of an ingrown toenail. Another reason is athletes wearing narrow-toed sports shoes, (e.g. soccer or track shoes). In addition, many athletes trim their toenails too short to avoid irritation with their shoe. As you may have seen from our previous posts, the above reasons in turn may lead to an ingrown toenail.
If ailed by an ingrown toenail, determine if it’s time to call up your local podiatrist by looking for symptoms of an infection.
First and foremost, people with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other circulatory problems should see a podiatrist right away rather than treat an ingrown toenail at home. For those not suffering the above conditions, try self-treatment by soaking your toenail in warm water and putting antibiotic cream on and around the area of ingrown toenail. If the condition does not resolve in 1-2 days, or if there is pus or the toenail is very painful, see a podiatrist right away as you may have an infection that will require antibiotics. The foot specialist can also take steps to remove the problem portion of the toenail from the skin.
Some ingrown toenails resolve in a few days, some don’t! A neglected ingrown toenail may lead to a painful infection, or worse, to serious health consequences. Here’s one scenario to scare you: A localized infection of the toenail border (in medical terms, paronychia) progresses to a deep soft-tissue infection, also known as cellulitis. If this soft-tissue infection is left untreated, it progresses deeper to become a bone infection, also known as osteomyelitis. Sounds unreal? Well, we see cases like this often in our practice.
So, if you’re wondering whether it’s time to call up your podiatrist for an appointment, go ahead and look at your toes / feet. Notice your symptoms: is there any swelling, warmth, redness or tenderness? Is there pain that does not resolve in 2-3 days? If the answer is yes to both questions, call your NY podiatrist promptly. Yes, an appointment for ingrown toenail treatment may make you feel anxious, but be assured that you will be in the right hands. At NYC Podiatry Center of Excellence, we perform over 10,000 ingrown toenail treatments / procedures a year in our Midtown office alone! Unlike other medical professionals, our podiatrists are experts in all things toes, foot and ankle. Therefore your ingrown toenail is a very common complaint in our practice.
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