How to recognize and stop the progression of an ingrown toenail

If you’re wondering how to stop an ingrown toenail from developing or getting worse, you may be among one of the 20% of Americans who go to the podiatrist for toenail-related problems every year. Foot pain can be scary, but fortunately, there are a number of ways to stop the pain of ingrown toenails.

Some people opt to treat their ingrown toenails at home, which can be a practical solution for those whose ingrown toenails are causing minor pain. But if your ingrown toenail becomes painful or develops an infection, it’s a good idea to seek out the opinion of a physician before trying to treat it by yourself. Below you will learn how to determine whether you have an ingrown toenail and understand when to visit a podiatrist for help.

How to recognize ingrown toenails

This ailment can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, and you may be wondering how to stop ingrown toenails at home before they become infected. Often, the flesh around the top of your toe is swollen, and you may have difficulty putting on socks or shoes and washing your affected foot. Though ingrown toenails can affect any toe, they most often affect the big toes. A few signs of an ingrown toenail may include:

  • A red, swollen area around one or both sides of the toenail
  • A sharp pain where the edge of the toenail is compressing the skin
  • In severe cases, signs of infection like redness, swelling, and oozing pus where the toenail is embedded in the skin

How to stop an ingrown toenail from getting worse

Stopping ingrown toenails from getting worse is often a matter of lifting the toenail with a small piece of cotton or dental floss to relieve the pressure on the surrounding skin. If the ingrown toenail is a recent development—or if it’s only mildly embedded in the skin—it’s possible to lift the toenail and provide this makeshift “splint” for it to rest on while the skin heals.

When treating an ingrown toenail, it’s important to let the skin heal by not wearing socks or shoes that are too tight. Soak the affected toe in warm water, keep up with your splints, and use pain medication or antibiotic cream as needed to stop an ingrown toenail from getting worse. Be sure to watch for signs of infection, and give us a call if your skin becomes red and inflamed, becomes too painful, starts oozing pus, or develops any other signs you find concerning.

Doctor treating an ingrown toenail on male patient

Let Arizona Foot Doctors help with stopping ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails can be treated. It’s important to speak with a podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail. While the condition may seem minor at first, some at-home treatments can worsen the condition and lead to infection. If your toe looks infected—or if you have a chronic medical condition like diabetes that can lead to a higher risk of infection—please call us right away so we can develop a customized treatment plan with you.

Want to know how to stop an ingrown toenail? Contact Arizona Foot Doctors to learn how to banish ingrown toenails for good with the help of our trusted experts!