Ingrown Toenail Specialist

Woodlake Podiatry, LLC

Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM

Podiatrist located in Chesterfield, MO

You may not think of ingrown toenails as a medical concern, but if they’re a recurring problem or causing you pain, make sure to seek the advice and treatment of a skilled podiatrist. At Woodlake Podiatry, LLC, in Chesterfield, Missouri, board-qualified podiatrist Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM, treats and prevents ingrown toenails through conservative treatment and minimally invasive surgery as needed. To get treatment for an ingrown toenail, book an appointment online or by phone.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What are ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail results from the side or corner of your toenail, usually on your big toe, growing into the surrounding skin. The area surrounding an ingrown toenail becomes painful, red, and swollen.

Ingrown toenails usually are a result of your foot care and habits. If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem, you may not be trimming your nails properly. It’s important to trim them straight across and not too short.

Other contributing factors to ingrown toenails include:

  • Poor foot hygiene
  • A toe injury, such as stubbing your toe or dropping something on it
  • Wearing too-tight shoes that push your nail into your skin

You can treat most ingrown toenails at home, but they sometimes lead to infection. You may also want help managing the pain and improving your grooming and hygiene habits.

When do ingrown toenails require medical attention?

Most ingrown toenails are minor and heal within 2-4 days with simple at-home care. If you’re experiencing only slight discomfort from your ingrown toenail, you should: 

  • Soak your feet in warm water 15-20 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day
  • After soaking, apply antibiotic ointment or cream to the affected area and cover it with a bandage
  • Wear open-toed shoes to avoid irritating the affected toe
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage the discomfort

An ingrown toenail requires medical attention if it becomes infected. Signs of infection include:

  • Increased redness, swelling, and pain
  • Pus draining from the area
  • A foul smell

If you have an infection, Dr. Hanawalt prescribes a course of antibiotics. If the infection persists, she can perform a surgery to remove the affected portion of the nail. Surgery to treat an ingrown toenail is an outpatient procedure that you undergo while under local anesthetic. 

If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to make note of any wounds on your feet, including ingrown toenails, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Hanawalt when they occur. That’s because the condition slows healing and makes you more prone to infection.

How can I prevent ingrown toenails?

Dr. Hanawalt may suggest steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails, including:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across
  • Wearing shoes that fit properly
  • Keeping your feet and toenails clean
  • Relieving pressure from your feet and toes after exercising by allowing your feet to breathe

To get treatment for a recurring, painful, or infected ingrown toenail, schedule an appointment at Woodlake Podiatry online or over the phone.