It's red, puffy, highly sensitive, and if left unchecked, can cause serious issues: the dreaded ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails often occur for all types of individuals. More than three million cases of ingrown toenails arise every year. So, the chances are good that you or someone you know has had one recently or will have one soon enough. Prompt treatment of these ingrown toenails is of the utmost importance. Read on, and we'll tell you why.
Potential for Bone Infection
An ingrown toenail may seem innocent enough compared to other immediate life-threatening conditions. But don’t let that lull you into ignoring it; the risks are still heavy.
If left untreated, the seemingly innocent ingrown toenail can cause an infection. The infection can be bacterial or fungal. And it will spread from the toenail itself into the bone of the foot.
MRSA, a drug-resistant staph infection, is perhaps the most common. At best, it requires weeks of heavy intravenous antibiotics to treat. Sometimes surgery is indicated.
You can prevent ingrown toenails by taking good care of your feet. In the event of ingrown toenails, early detection and immediate treatment are imperative.
Potential for Foot Ulcers
If your ingrown toenail and the surrounding area start to feel swollen, you could be developing an ulcer. Other warning signs include burning or itching sensations.
The best course of action is to seek medical attention if your toe becomes this sensitive. If you have other health conditions, like diabetes, this is especially true.
Potential for Tissue Decay
As is the case with infections, the toe and surrounding area could start to decay if left untreated.
Especially in the case of MRSA, you are at high risk for having the toe amputated.
Signs of severe infection can include:
redness or change in skin colour
fluid or pus in the affected area
If your skin has turned black, immediately seek medical care. Black skin can indicate cell death of the tissue.
Potential for Open Sores
Once infection sets in around the ingrown toenail, you are at risk for open sores. Diabetes increases the risk for severe complications from ingrown toenails.
The compromised toe may give way to spontaneous lesions on the toe or the surrounding area.
Potential for Disrupted Blood Flow
All the issues with ingrown toenails culminate in a disruption of blood flow. This disruption can result in severe nerve damage to the foot or leg.
Any existing health conditions add complications, making the effect of the ingrown toenail worse.
The Bottom Line on Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are very common. They can be painful and distracting but often are not severe and will improve with home remedies. However, if there are complications, you may need to look into ingrown toenail surgeries.
That’s where we can help. At Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic, we are known as Calgary’s leading treatment clinic for ingrown toenails.
If you or a loved one are suffering due to an ingrown toenail, please reach out to us. Our friendly team of professionals can help you get back on your feet today.