Avoid an Infected Ingrown Toenail

Jun 26, 2017

Ingrown toenails can be both ugly and painful, but those aren’t the only reasons you shouldn’t let one linger for too long. When an edge or corner of a nail digs into the soft flesh surrounding it, it creates a very inviting opening for viruses, bacteria, and fungal spores to pop in, take a look around, and decide to settle down. That could mean an unsightly fungal toenail infection – or it could mean a serious bone infection that will need an amputation to keep from spreading.

We know, we know – there are lots of people out there who flat out refuse to see a doctor unless they’re in serious pain or have an appendage hanging on by a thread. But this is no time to be tough! Ingrown toenails are not difficult to fix, and getting them treated early will not only save you a lot of time and pain, but also protect you from serious complications.

The most common treatment strategy involves two minor surgical procedures. First, the ingrown toenail is carefully trimmed and removed along the painful edge (leaving most of the toenail in place). Most people also opt for the second procedure, in which we ablate (or destroy) the section of the nail matrix along the same edge. What this means is that new nail won’t grow back in the spot where it become ingrown before, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.

Occasionally, people may wish to try conservative options (such as lifting and trimming of the nail) first before surgical removal. For some people this may be an appropriate course of action; however you’ll want to keep a close eye on the situation to ensure that the condition improves with treatment and you don’t develop any infections. Common signs of infection include redness, swelling, and pus.

Of course, if there is an existing infection, that will also need to be addressed. We’ll make sure you get the antibiotics and other medications you might need to contain or avoid a more serious complication.

Don’t be a hero! If an ingrown toenail is causing pain, get it fixed before it has a chance to do more extensive damage. You can request an appointment with us any time online, or call our office in Lee’s Summit, MO at (816) 246-4222.