How Do Podiatrists Treat Ingrown Toenails?

When you notice the discomfort of an ingrown toenail, a podiatrist can offer effective solutions to alleviate the pain. They begin by thoroughly examining your toe to determine the severity and any sign of infection. Initial treatments might involve simple measures like soaking your foot, placing cotton under the nail, or using antibiotic ointments. But what happens when these methods aren’t enough? For more stubborn cases, podiatrists can perform specialized procedures to remove the problematic nail portion and prevent future issues. Curious about the next steps and how these treatments work?

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Diagnosing ingrown toenails involves a podiatrist examining the affected area for redness, swelling, and tenderness to determine the severity of the condition. You’ll notice ingrown toenail symptoms like pain, inflammation, and potential infection, which are important indicators.

To accurately assess the situation, your podiatrist might also use an X-ray to evaluate the extent of the ingrown toenail and check for any underlying bone involvement.

Understanding the symptoms is essential for determining how to get rid of an ingrown toenail effectively. Pain at the nail edges, increased sensitivity, and visible swelling are common signs. If left untreated, these symptoms can escalate, leading to more severe complications, including infection. Hence, early diagnosis is crucial.

Your podiatrist’s goal is to identify the precise nature of your ingrown toenail symptoms to tailor a treatment plan that suits your needs. Differentiating ingrown toenails from other foot conditions ensures that you receive the appropriate ingrown toenail treatment. By pinpointing the exact cause and extent of the condition, your podiatrist can recommend the best course of action, whether it’s noninvasive measures or more advanced procedures.

Accurate diagnosis is your first step towards effective relief.

At-Home Care Techniques

To alleviate the discomfort of an ingrown toenail at home, you can start by soaking your foot in warm water with Epsom salts to reduce pain and inflammation. This simple step helps soften the skin around the nail, making it easier to manage the affected area.

Next, consider placing a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the ingrown edge of the nail. This technique lifts the nail slightly, preventing it from further digging into the skin and promoting proper nail growth.

Here are some additional at-home care techniques you can employ:

  • Footwear Choices: Avoid tight-fitting shoes and opt for open-toed or roomy footwear to relieve pressure on the ingrown toenail.
  • Antibiotic Ointments: Applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointments can help prevent infection and aid in the healing process.
  • Nail Trimming: Gently trim your nail straight across without cutting the corners too short to prevent further ingrown toenail issues.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Managing ingrown toenails with non-surgical treatments often involves soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water to alleviate pain and swelling. This simple step can soften the skin and nail, making subsequent treatments more effective. Your podiatrist might recommend doing this several times a day to reduce inflammation and encourage healing.

After soaking, one common technique is placing a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the edge of the ingrown nail. This helps lift the nail slightly above the skin, allowing it to grow out properly. Your podiatrist will guide you on how to do this safely to avoid further irritation.

Trimming or filing the ingrown nail is another method used to relieve pressure and discomfort. Your podiatrist will carefully trim the nail to prevent it from digging into the skin, promoting a healthier growth pattern. To prevent infection, antibiotic ointments or creams may be prescribed. These topical solutions not only fight bacteria but also promote quicker healing.

In some cases, your podiatrist might use splints or braces placed under the nail. These devices help alleviate pain and guide the nail to grow correctly, minimizing the chances of recurrence. Non-surgical treatments prioritize your comfort and aim for effective, long-term relief.

Surgical Procedures

For severe cases of ingrown toenails, your podiatrist might recommend surgical procedures like Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA) or Total Nail Avulsion (TNA) to guarantee precise removal and prevent recurrence. PNA involves removing only the ingrown portion of the nail, which is a targeted approach to alleviate pain and inflammation. This procedure is often combined with phenolisation, using a chemical agent to prevent the regrowth of the troublesome nail segment, making it a permanent solution.

TNA, on the other hand, is utilized for more critical situations where the entire toenail needs to be removed. This approach is reserved for cases where the toenail is severely damaged or chronic ingrown toenails persist despite other treatments. Both procedures are quick, typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort.

Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA): Removes only the ingrown section.

Total Nail Avulsion (TNA): Removes the entire toenail for severe cases.

Phenolisation: A chemical treatment used in conjunction with PNA for permanent results.

Prevention Tips

Proper toenail trimming techniques, such as cutting nails straight across and avoiding overly short cuts, are essential in preventing ingrown toenails. This method helps maintain the natural shape of your nails and minimizes the risk of them growing into the surrounding skin.

Additionally, be mindful not to round the corners of your toenails, as this can promote improper growth.

Wearing well-fitted shoes with adequate toe room is another critical preventive measure. Shoes that are too tight can exert pressure and friction on your toes, leading to the development of ingrown toenails. Opt for footwear that allows your toes to move freely and provides ample space.

Regular visits to a podiatrist for professional toenail trimming and maintenance can greatly reduce your risk of ingrown toenails. Podiatrists are trained to trim your nails correctly and can offer personalized advice tailored to your foot structure and health.

Maintaining good foot hygiene is also essential. Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent fungal infections and other conditions that can contribute to ingrown toenails.

Lastly, seek prompt treatment from a podiatrist at the first signs of an ingrown toenail to prevent complications and ensure quicker healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Podiatrists Fix an Ingrown Toenail?

You’d visit a podiatrist who’d evaluate the toenail’s severity. For mild cases, they’d lift the nail or prescribe antibiotics. Severe cases might need surgical removal. Post-procedure care, like wound cleaning and antibacterial cream, guarantees proper healing.

Will a Podiatrist Remove an Ingrown Toenail on the First Visit?

Yes, a podiatrist might remove an ingrown toenail during your first visit if it’s severe and causing significant discomfort. They’ll assess the situation, prioritize your comfort, and decide the best course of action for immediate relief.

How Painful Is an Ingrown Toenail Removal?

Imagine Sarah’s first ingrown toenail removal. You’ll feel pressure or discomfort during the procedure, but local anesthesia minimizes sharp pain. Post-procedure, manage any discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication. Podiatrists guarantee patient comfort throughout.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of an Ingrown Toenail?

The fastest way to get rid of an ingrown toenail is by consulting a podiatrist for a partial nail avulsion. This minimally invasive procedure removes the ingrown portion, providing immediate relief and preventing future complications.


To conclude, if you’re dealing with an ingrown toenail, think of your podiatrist as a skilled gardener pruning a stubborn vine. They’ll assess your condition, offer at-home care tips, and provide non-surgical or surgical treatments tailored to you.

With their expertise, you’ll effectively manage the issue and prevent future occurrences. Remember, your podiatrist is dedicated to ensuring your feet stay healthy and pain-free, just like a well-tended garden.

Don’t put up with toenail pain any longer – the ingrown pain will likely worsen the longer you try to ignore it.  Call us today on (03) 4240 5231 or schedule an appointment online today to see one of our podiatrists and let us get you back on your feet pain free with healthy nails.