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What to Do If You Keep Getting Ingrown Toenails

For such a seemingly small problem, an ingrown toenail can make your life miserable in many ways, from not being able to wear shoes to suffering at the slightest touch. The bad news is that ingrown toenails often recur. The good news, however, is that we can prevent the problem, once and for all.

Here at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center, our team of foot health experts, led by Dr. Michael Tran, offers a wide range of services that cater to the health of your feet. From heel pain to ingrown toenails, we understand the many conditions that can make the simple act of walking difficult.

In the following, we explore why ingrown toenails are so painful, why they recur, and what we can do about them.

The makings of an ingrown toenail

As the name implies, an ingrown toenail develops when the edge of your toenail (usually your big toe) grows into the flesh of your toe. When this happens, it can lead to very painful swelling. Left unchecked, the toenail can break the surface of your skin, allowing infection to set in.

Under normal circumstances, ingrown toenails are painful to deal with, but if you have a pre-existing medical issue, namely diabetes, these developments can be quite serious.

There are several reasons why people develop ingrown toenails, including:

Of this list, there are several factors that place you at greater risk for recurring toenails that you can correct, such as trimming your toenails straight across and wearing shoes with more room for your toes. For those factors that are beyond your ability to mitigate, especially the shape of your toenails or genetic predisposition, we offer solutions.

Treating ingrown toenails

For your first ingrown toenails, we can generally recommend treating the problem conservatively. For example, you should start by soaking your toe in warm, soapy water to prevent infection. If it feels comfortable enough, you can try trimming away the piece of nail that’s digging into your flesh after your soak. Be sure to apply a topical antibiotic cream afterward.

If you suspect infection has set in, or it’s too painful to trim your nail on your own, we urge you to come see us for treatment. As well, if you have diabetes, we don’t recommend that you try to remedy ingrown toenails on your own. Instead, we offer comprehensive diabetic foot care that's designed to safeguard the health of your feet.

At our office, we have topical numbing agents and specialized tools that allow us to cut away the offending piece of nail. During your visit, we can also check for signs of infection and take the appropriate steps to clear it.

If you keep developing an ingrown toenail at the same site, we may recommend taking a more aggressive approach to the problem with a partial nail plate avulsion. We numb your toe with a local anesthetic and then remove the part of your nail that keeps causing problems. During this treatment, we remove the nail right down to the nail bed to ensure that it doesn’t regrow. 

If you’re struggling with recurring ingrown toenails, contact one of our two offices in Arlington or Dallas, Texas, to take the necessary steps toward pain relief.

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