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Normally, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, the corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh. Most often this occurs in the big toe, but other toes can also be affected. Left untreated or undetected, an infected, ingrown toenail can infect the nearby bone, leading to a serious infection.
Due to circulation and nerve impairment, complications of an ingrown toenail can be especially acute for diabetics. Any relatively minor injury to a diabetic patient's foot, including corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails, may have difficulty healing and lead to a serious infection, even gangrene.
People with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other circulatory disorders should avoid any self treatment and seek podiatric medical care to treat an ingrown toenail safely. Please see our page on how to prevent diabetic complications in your feet.
Any "do-it-yourself" treatments, including any attempt to remove any part of an infected toenail, should be avoided. Nail problems should always be evaluated and treated by your podiatrist, who can diagnose the problem, and then prescribe medication or another appropriate course of treatment.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail:
***If you suspect that you have an infected ingrown toenail, immerse your foot in a warm salt water soak or a basin of soapy water, then apply an antiseptic and cover with a bandage. Make an appointment with the PA Foot and Ankle Associates office for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan.
Ingrown toenails may be caused by:
Treatment for ingrown toenails:
A podiatrist will resect (partially remove) the ingrown toenail and may prescribe a topical or oral medication to treat the infection. If ingrown toenails are a chronic problem, a procedure to permanently prevent ingrown toenails may be recommended.
Michael, a student at Northwestern Lehigh High School, tells why he chose us for treatment of his ingrown toenails.