If you have an ingrown toenail and it’s red or sensitive to touch, it’s vital to seek treatment. Without intervention, the nail might become infected, increasing your risk of gangrene. At Alpine Foot & Ankle, double board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Scott Shelton, DPM, specializes in treating ingrown toenails. After an exam and discussing your symptoms, he can make recommendations to help you feel better. To make an appointment, call the office in Highland, Utah, or book online today.

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What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when your nail grows into the soft skin around your nail bed instead of away from your toe. As the nail grows into your skin, it causes redness, swelling, and sensitivity.

Ingrown toenails usually improve on their own, but if you have poor circulation, it’s crucial to seek treatment. Health problems like diabetes or peripheral artery disease (PAD) may increase your risk of more serious complications, like gangrene or the need for amputation.

What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Inflamed skin
  • Swelling

As the nail grows farther into your skin, it might also bleed or ooze pus.

When should I see a foot and ankle surgeon about an ingrown toenail?

Make an appointment with Dr. Shelton at Alpine Foot & Ankle if you have an ingrown toenail and it’s painful or sensitive to touch. That’s especially true if you have an underlying health problem, like diabetes, or your symptoms affect your ability to work or exercise.

Who is at risk of experiencing an ingrown toenail?

Certain factors may increase your risk of experiencing an ingrown toenail, including:

  • Being a child or an adolescent
  • Having sweaty feet
  • Having diabetes
  • Injuring a toenail
  • Nail infections
  • Wearing shoes that squeeze your toes together

You might also experience an ingrown toenail if you cut your nails at an angle instead of straight across.

How is an ingrown toenail diagnosed?

At Alpine Foot & Ankle, Dr. Shelton diagnoses ingrown toenails during an in-office visit.

Dr. Shelton reviews your medical records and asks about your toenail, including when you first noticed that it was ingrown and if it responds to at-home treatments, like soaking your foot in warm water or wearing comfortable shoes with a wide toe box.

Next, Dr. Shelton examines your toe and toenail, looking for redness and swelling. He gently presses on your toe and carefully moves it back and forth to assess its flexibility and range of motion.

Most ingrown nails are visible, but Dr. Shelton might also order X-rays or a CT scan to see how far the nail grows into your skin.

How is an ingrown toenail treated?

At Alpine Foot & Ankle, Dr. Shelton provides several types of same-day treatment for ingrown toenails that provide highly successful results. After an exam and a discussion of your symptoms, he might recommend:

  • Lifting the nail so it grows away from your toe
  • Taping your skin so your nail grows away from it
  • Placing a gutter splint under your nail to keep it above your skin
  • Partially removing the nail

If you experience ingrown toenails regularly, and they affect your mobility or quality of life, Dr. Shelton might recommend removing the nail completely.

To learn more about the treatment options for an ingrown toenail, make an appointment at Alpine Foot & Ankle by calling the office or booking online today.