Ingrown Toenail Specialist

Lake Erie Podiatry

Michael Ruiz, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in West Millcreek, Erie, PA

An ingrown toenail seems like such a small problem, yet it typically causes intense pain. And if it doesn’t heal quickly, you can end up with a serious infection. At Lake Erie Podiatry in Erie, Pennsylvania, Michael Ruiz, DPM, offers expert treatment for ingrown toenails, and many patients can find their ingrown toenails resolved in just one visit. To schedule a consultation, call the office, or request your appointment online today.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What causes an ingrown toenail?

You develop an ingrown toenail, also called onychocryptosis, when the edge of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails are typically caused by:

Trimming your toenails improperly

If you trim your toenails too short, especially on the sides of the big toe, the skin can fold over the edge of the nail. As the nail grows, it goes deeper into the skin. You may also end up with an ingrown toenail if you give the nail a rounded shape instead of cutting it straight across the top.

Wearing tight shoes

Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short places pressure on your big toe, which can cause an ingrown toenail.

Sustaining trauma or having a foot deformity

If you injure your toe, or you have a deformity such as hammertoe, flat feet, or a bunion, you’re more likely to develop an ingrown toenail. In some cases, repetitive sports activities cause enough trauma to lead to the problem.

What symptoms develop due to an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails are often intensely painful, with red, swollen skin. When an ingrown toenail goes untreated, you can develop an infection that starts at the damaged area and spreads.

If an ingrown toenail develops an infection, it becomes more inflamed and may bleed easily. In the worst cases, an ingrown toenail can ooze pus. To avoid these worsening complications, you should treat an ingrown toenail shortly after you notice it.

Can I treat my ingrown toenail at home?

In most cases, you can treat an ingrown toenail at home by soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times a day. You should also apply an antibiotic cream and avoid wearing tight shoes and socks. However, don’t try to trim away the ingrown nail because it’s easy to accidentally cut the swollen skin and make the problem worse.

Patients who have diabetes or poor circulation due to a vascular problem should prevent potential complications by visiting Dr. Ruiz at Lake Erie Podiatry rather than treating the ingrown toenail at home. Dr. Ruiz will carefully clean the wound and make sure there’s no sign of an infection. Usually, he can resolve an ingrown toenail in a single visit.  

To get prompt treatment of an ingrown toenail, call Lake Erie Podiatry or schedule an appointment online.