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Signs Your Ingrown Toenail Is Infected

Signs Your Ingrown Toenail Is Infected

Ingrown toenails are very common and can affect anyone at anytime. Toenails become ingrown when the nail grows into the skin of the nail bed, causing pain and inflammation. This issue can strike any toe, although the big toe is most often affected.

Here at Concord Podiatry, board-certified foot and ankle specialist Dr. David E. Biss routinely treats complex and common issues that affect the feet, including infected ingrown toenails. Don’t put off seeing a doctor if you have an ingrown toenail.

Why ingrown toenails need treatment

Untreated ingrown toenails can develop an infection, which can spread and cause major pain. And you’re at a higher risk of complications if you have certain chronic conditions such as diabetes.

It’s essential to recognize the signs of an ingrown toenail infection so you know when to see a doctor. 

Signs of an ingrown toenail may be infected

These are some of the telltale signs that your ingrown toenail is infected:

If your toenail is infected, you may notice that the area feels warm or hot to the touch. Any existing toenail issues can complicate matters. 

The danger of ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections. Methicillin-resistant bacterial infections pose the greatest danger. Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), sometimes known as a Staph infection, is serious and antibiotic-resistant.

An ingrown toenail infection is dangerous because it affects more than just the toenail itself; it can also travel to the bone. In severe cases, a Staph infection requires intravenous treatment. 

At the first sign of an infected toenail, it’s important that you seek medical attention.

Treatment for an infected toenail 

An infected toenail is treated in various ways. The exact treatment approach depends on the extent of the infection and any underlying issues. Dr. Biss may also prescribe oral or topical antibiotics.

Nail lift

If the infected nail is only slightly ingrown, that is, if it hasn’t dug deeply into the side of your toe, we may be able to perform a nail lift. After we lift the nail's edge, we can place a splint underneath it to separate it from the toe so the nail grows out properly.

Partial nail removal

If your infected toenail is more severe, partial removal may be the most appropriate treatment. This method entails numbing the area surrounding the ingrown nail and then removing the ingrown section of the nail. 

Full nail removal 

Severely infected ingrown toenails or recurrent ingrown toenails may require a full nail removal. Dr. Biss removes the ingrown section of the nail as well as the surrounding tissue and may apply a medication that inhibits nail development and reduces the likelihood of recurrence.

An ingrown toenail may seem like a minor issue, but it can quickly cause major problems if left unaddressed. If you have an ingrown toenail with signs of infection, reach out to Concord Podiatry today by calling or texting to set up a visit with Dr. Biss.

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