Ingrown toenails can be caused by wearing tight shoes, trimming your toenails incorrectly, or injuring your toe during sports. Once the condition develops, it can cause pain and make wearing shoes difficult. When you have diabetes, your feet often lose feeling due to neuropathy and poor circulation making it easy to overlook an ingrown nail and the wound slow to heal. It is important to treat an ingrown toenail at the first sign of a problem, so a more serious complication doesn’t develop.
Ingrown Toenail Complications for Those With Diabetes
Ingrown toenails are not only painful, they can turn into a bigger problem if left untreated, and the complications of an ingrown toenail can be serious. These complications include:
- Infection. Since diabetes can make a wound slow to heal, having an ingrown toenail can increase the risk of infection. An infection can spread to surrounding tissue, bone, or other parts of the body.
- Gangrene. If there is restricted blood flow to the infected ingrown toenail, it can lead to gangrene, a condition that causes tissue to die.
- Amputation. If the ingrown toenail becomes infected and the infection cannot be controlled, amputation may be needed to save your life.
Signs of an Ingrown Toenail
It is important for people with diabetes to do a daily self-exam of their feet. During this self-exam, you can look for any problems or abnormalities such as ingrown toenails. Some signs of an ingrown toenail include:
- Pain or tenderness along the edge of the toenail or in the nail itself
- Swelling around the toenail
- Redness or warmth around the area of the toenail
- Pus that indicates infection in the toenail
Foot Care Tips for Preventing Ingrown Toenails
If you have signs of an ingrown toenail, it is essential to contact Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists as soon as possible. We can evaluate your condition and recommend treatment options based on your specific needs. If you have diabetes, you should never treat the ingrown toenail at home without first consulting with a podiatrist.
Possible Treatment Options for an Infected Toenail
- Antibiotics to help clear the infection
- Debridement to remove bacteria, dead tissue, and other debris from the wound
- Surgery to remove the toenail partially or completely if the infection is extensive
Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy
- Avoid shoes that are too tight. Shoes should have room in the toes and never restrict movement. Shoes with a wider toe bed made from a breathable material can help reduce your risk of an ingrown toenail.
- Trim your toenails carefully. Be careful when trimming your toenails, and make sure you cut them straight across. Never cut them too short or round the edges since this can increase the risk of an ingrown nail. If you cannot properly trim your toenails yourself, consider having them trimmed at your podiatrist’s office to avoid complications.
- Have an annual exam. Not only should you see a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem, but those with diabetes should schedule an annual exam to check their feet.
Are You Looking for an Ingrown Toenail Specialist in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for ingrown toenail care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.