Updated: Jul 29, 2020
If you’ve got a fresh case of ingrown toenails that remains relatively mild, you may be able to handle treatment on your own. That said, there are other times when a surgical nail removal really is the way to go. The consequences for not acting soon enough range from the merely irritating (i.e., wasting a week on ineffective treatments before getting the relief you could have had right away) to the life-changing (e.g., losing a toe to an infection).
Obviously, it’s important to know when it’s time to bail on home care and get a removal procedure. If any of the below scenarios apply to you, it’s time to make the call.
You have diabetes (or any other condition that affects circulation or immunity). Toes don’t get much circulation anyway, and conditions like diabetes greatly increase the odds that an ingrown toenail will become infected. Since those infections can spread and even force an amputation, the best policy is to just take care of your ingrown toenail via surgical removal immediately.
It hurts. A little sensitivity and tenderness is normal with even mild ingrown toenails, but if you’re dealing with real pain, see a doctor. It’s a sign that something is wrong.
There’s an ongoing infection. Redness, puss, swelling, and other symptoms are a good indication that an infection is present. This means you need to get professional help immediately, regardless of your health status otherwise.
Your ingrown toenails keep returning. Recurring ingrown toenails (especially if you’re already practicing prevention strategies) tend to indicate that the cause is genetic. In short, your toenails are just too curved, and you’ll continue to have problems unless you stop the nail from growing back. We can do this by removing not only the ingrown nail edge, but also the portion of the nail matrix responsible for growing new nail.
You just want to be done with it. Home remedies, including daily foot soaks and splinting, may be successful in some cases. But it’s far from a guarantee, and does require some commitment of time. For many, it may be preferable to just remove the painful nail edge and be done with it. Appointments are quick, relief is immediate, and most people are back up and running at full activity within a day.
To schedule your appointment at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, give us a call at (504) 708-4810 for the Metairie office, or (985) 809-1464 for Covington. We look forward to seeing you.