Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa
Rudolph La Fontant, DPM
Podiatrist, Sports Medicine, and Podiatric Dermatology located in Beaverdale, Des Moines, IA
Almost everyone experiences an ingrown toenail at one time or another. They usually aren’t serious, but if you have diabetes or another condition that affects your circulation, it’s important to visit the doctor. At the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa, podiatrist Rudolph La Fontant, DPM, offers comprehensive care for ingrown toenails. To make an appointment at the practice in Des Moines, Iowa, call the office today or click the online booking feature.
Ingrown Toenail Q & A
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when your nail grows into the skin surrounding the nail bed instead of out and away from your toe. Any toe can experience an ingrown nail, but the big toes are most commonly affected.
What causes an ingrown toenail?
There are several factors that increase the risk of an ingrown toenail, including:
- Poor posture
- Cutting your nails at an angle, instead of straight across
- Wearing shoes that place pressure on your toes
- Toenail injuries
- Having a family history of ingrown nails
You’re also more likely to experience an ingrown toenail if you don’t practice proper foot hygiene. You can significantly lower your risk by keeping your feet clean and dry and wearing a new pair of socks each day.
What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:
- The skin next to the nail becoming swollen, tender, or hard
- Pain when placing pressure on your toe
- Fluid building up around the toe
- Oozing pus
If you develop any of these symptoms, and they don’t improve with at-home treatments, contact Dr. La Fontant right away.
How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed?
To diagnose an ingrown toenail, Dr. La Fontant reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms. Then, he examines your toe. If Dr. La Fontant suspects you have an infection, he might also order X-rays to determine how far the nail has grown into your skin.
How is an ingrown toenail treated?
Before treating your ingrown toenail, Dr. La Fontant administers a local anesthetic to numb your toe. Once the medication sets in and you’re comfortable, Dr. La Fontant might:
Lift the nail
If your ingrown toenail isn’t serious, Dr. La Fontant uses a splint or a piece of dental floss to lift it. Lifting the nail encourages it to grow out and away from your skin.
Partially remove the nail
If your ingrown toenail is infected, Dr. La Fontant might recommend partially removing the nail. After he numbs your toe, Dr. La Fontant carefully trims the ingrown portion of the nail away.
Fully remove the nail
If you experience recurrent ingrown toenails the same toe, Dr. La Fontant might recommend fully removing your nail. The procedure prevents part of your nail from growing back, and it’s safe, effective, and pain-free.
Following treatment for an ingrown toenail, Dr. La Fontant gives you a detailed explanation of at-home care.
If you have an ingrown toenail, make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Iowa by calling the office or clicking the online scheduling feature today.