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Richardson Podiatry Center

Why Taking Care of Ingrown Toenails Is So Important

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Have you ever had a problem that could have been resolved so easily? The problem, though, is that it’s too late to solve it any more.

For instance, have you ever known anyone who let the clutter in their house get away from them? Keeping a house clean is relatively simple, but this person let their mess accumulate and build to the point that cleaning their house required a large amount of time and effort. If they’d decided to keep up with their cleaning, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble.

Why Taking Care of Ingrown Toenails Is So Important Graphic

Likewise, a lot of health issues can be treated relatively quickly with one simple procedure. We certainly have the tools, skills, and expertise here in our practice to treat a wide array of issues. However, that doesn’t mean that people always come in to see us at the first signs of trouble. We’ve noticed over the years that simple conditions often evolve into more difficult and complex issues to solve, mainly because people wait to seek help.

To go off of this example, you might be trying to lose some weight. (It is the New Year after all!) One thing we’ve noticed in our time in healthcare is that it’s going to be a lot easier to KEEP the weight off then it is lose it. However, if you do have some excess weight you could lose, losing a few pounds is going to be a lot easier than losing, say, 30 or 4 pounds.

Simplicity is our philosophy on both weight loss AND healthcare. Catch simple problems now to avoid bigger problems in the future. This foresight also prevents you from having to play catch up.  This is good advice for a lot of conditions, but it’s especially true for ingrown toenails.

When it’s all said and done, ingrown toenails are a surprisingly simple issue to treat, but you’d be surprised how many people let them get out of hand. It’s particularly baffling when we KNOW how easy they can be to treat at the initial stages, especially when compared to how difficult the later stages of ingrown toenails can be to fix.

However, most of our patients don’t recognize just how serious ingrown toenails can be if we don’t act promptly and efficiently to cure them. They often let the condition get worse and worse and when they finally do come to see us, the damage is already done. Of course, we can still offer them some effective treatment options, but these options aren’t as pleasant as what we could have offered if we’d just been able to treat the condition at the get-go.

Going off of this, we’ve compiled a list of few reasons why you should take ingrown toenails seriously.

1.They’re not always noticeable.

In a perfect world, it’d be extremely easy to determine what is wrong with your health and then move to correct it.

Well, this usually doesn’t pan out in reality, unfortunately, and ingrown toenails are no exception. The issue we typically see is that the pain of an ingrown toenail often manifests itself discreetly. Of course, if you have health concerns, you’ll move to correct them, but this is often not the case with an ingrown. You might see some of these initial symptoms:

  • Redness or swelling in a toe
  • Pain in a toe
  • An infection in a toe

Now, these are worrisome symptoms, but they usually don’t galvanize patients to contact their podiatrist immediately. After all, you might chalk up a red toe as simple irritation from a new pair of socks, or think that the pain in your toe is just from stubbing it. That’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion.

Now, a medical professional might see the writing on the wall and move to stop this from getting worse, but most people suffering from ingrown toenails typically don’t move decisively. This is why KNOWING the signs of an ingrown toenail are so important as a good plan of attack to set you up for further success.

Moreover, moving decisively is usually a good call as…..

2.They’re so simple to treat.

There are two different tiers of ingrown toenail treatment. The first level is simple, at-home treatment. This could be a really good first step.

First, try soaking the affected area in warm water and Epsom salts for about 15 minutes. Once dry, gently try to lift the nail up and put a small cotton swab underneath the nail. Do not try to clip the nail.

However, if this doesn't work, ingrown toenail surgery is actually a very safe and painless procedure.

We don’t recommend this for every patient, as there are often simpler ways to treat the condition, but know that ingrown surgery is a simple and painless option for your recovery.

Don’t worry- we won’t recommend this as a option unless we’re convinced that other, simpler treatment options won’t be effective.

Doctor treating ingrown toenail

3.They’re painful.

While the initial stages of an ingrown toenail might only mildly annoy you, an unchecked ingrown can result in pretty noticeable pain. After all, pain is our body’s way of alerting us to issues and threats and your toenail is literally growing into your flesh. The pain you’re experiencing in this situation is natural and acts as the body’s main way of letting you know that something is amiss.

Now, we don’t need to lecture you about WHY pain is bad, but it is worth mentioning that this pain can often interfere with your ability to live your life. It’s a distraction that makes day-to-day life a lot less comfortable. However, this pain from ingrown toenails can actually get even WORSE, especially considering…

4.They can lead to serious complications.

This is especially true of those with diabetic feet. Excess blood sugar severely hampers your blood flow, which limits the amount of nutrients that can reach your feet. The result is that those with diabetes often cannot recover from slight wounds as easily as they could have if they lived without this condition.

What does this have to with ingrown toenails?

Well, small cuts or scrapes can quickly become bigger issues for your feet if you have diabetes. As they can’t heal themselves as quickly, small issues quickly become larger.

If an ingrown toenail isn’t caught in a timely manner, it’s possible that it could damage the toe, leading to a cut. Given enough time, this could develop into a diabetic wound, especially if not found in a timely manner.

So two scenarios that could be easily solved on their own compound together to create a more serious issue. An ingrown toenail isn’t fun, and neither is having to implement a diabetic foot check. However, living with diabetes and discovering that you have an ingrown toenail is EXTREMELY dangerous.

Diabetic patients might see an unhealed wound become a foot ulcer. We can, of course, treat these wounds, but it won’t be as pleasant as if we’d just helped you solve your ingrown toenail in its initial stages.

Clearly, prompt treatment for ingrown toenails is critical! If you need expert medical attention, you’re in luck. Simply give us a call at (972) 690-5374 and one of our team members will be happy to help you schedule an appointment to see Dr. Reister here in our Richardson office. We have the expertise and knowledge you need to quickly and painlessly solve your ingrown toenail problem before it becomes a bigger issue. Contact us today for pain relief!
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