Why You Shouldn't Ignore Ingrown Nails

You probably don’t think much about your toenails. Even a little tenderness or redness around part of your nail might not feel like it warrants much attention. But if you have an ingrown nail and you leave it to fester, you could be setting yourself up for a riskier situation than you might imagine.

That’s why Christopher Vittori, DPM, Ameet Thakrar, DPM, and the team at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist offer dedicated ingrown nail treatment at our offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois. By addressing your ingrown nail, we can help you avoid a number of complications. 

What issues, exactly, can develop if you leave your ingrown nail unaddressed? Here are the most common problems that crop up when people ignore an ingrown nail: 

Pus buildup

Pus serves as an early warning sign that your ingrown nail is becoming an increasingly big problem. This fluid indicates that you have an infection at the site if your ingrown toenail. That infection could be fungal or bacterial, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). 

Either way, it needs treatment. If you notice any pus buildup, make an appointment with our team right away. If you don’t, your situation could worsen, leading to the next complication. 

Bone infection

An unaddressed ingrown toenail infection has the potential to spread beyond your nail bed. MRSA, for example, commonly spreads from an ingrown toenail to the bone of the feet. At that point, you’ll likely need weeks of intravenous antibiotics to stop the infection and protect your feet. You might even need surgery. 

Ultimately, you can’t safely assume that an ingrown toenail infection will stay put. Left untreated, it can spread, compromising the bones in your feet. 

Gangrene with diabetes

Because diabetes restricts blood flow to your feet, it contributes to a range of foot problems, including a heightened risk for ingrown toenails. That’s particularly problematic because the reduced blood flow in the area can make the ingrown nail slow to heal and particularly infection-prone. And that can further cause blood flow problems, eventually leading to gangrene. 

Gangrene develops when tissue dies because it doesn’t get enough blood. In severe cases, people with diabetes and gangrene will even require amputation. It’s a serious situation that definitely warrants prompt treatment. 

Treating an ingrown nail

Good news: correcting your ingrown nail and avoiding the above issues can be pretty simple. All you need to do is visit our office. 

Here, Dr. Vittori or Dr. Thakrar takes the necessary steps to remove the portion of your nail that is ingrown, allowing your nail to grow the way it should. We can offer local anesthetic to keep you completely comfortable during treatment, too. 

Long story short, an ingrown nail can escalate into a dangerous situation. If you have a bothersome ingrown nail — particularly if you have diabetes — don’t wait to call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today. 

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