If you have an ingrown toenail, chances are some proper nail trimming is all you need to treat it. This type of foot condition is very common and can often be easily treated at home. In some cases, however, if the toenail isn’t promptly treated, it can lead to an infection and make it painful or uncomfortable to walk or stand on the foot. Very rarely are ingrown toenails a serious or fatal health concern. In cases when infections do occur, the podiatrist may prescribe antibiotics to kill the germs and keep the pain down and shrink the infection. Usually in the most severe cases, the infected nail or piece of nail will be surgically removed to prevent further infection.
If the swelling, inflammation and pain from an infected toenail doesn’t get better in a few days, it s recommended that patients visit their podiatrist right away.
For healthy adults, an infected ingrown toenail can be quickly healed by the body with some TLC. For some patients, however, such as those with diabetes or who have compromised immune systems, a simple infection from such a common foot ailment can lead to life-threatening infections and complications.
Whether you think you can just bear the pain of an untreated ingrown toenail or you’re experiencing your first nail infection, below are some reason you may not want to put-off treatment much longer:
Toenail infections can negatively impact your quality of life. Often we take our feet and the mobility the give us for granted until something happens when we can’t use them properly. The ability to stand, walk, run, jump and skip are amazing and essential to our everyday life routines.
Those with painful infected ingrown toenails often find it not only inconvenient, but uncomfortable to be mobile. When one can’t stand or walk comfortably, it discourages people from being active and social, not to mention, feel less inclined to do essential chores or pursue certain hobbies. A more sedentary lifestyle can negatively affect one’s physical and mental health by decreasing their fitness and increasing the prevalence of negative attitudes such as anger, frustration and depression.
Infected toenails can lead to possibly more painful and expensive treatment. There are multiple treatment methods used by podiatrist to halt a toenail infection. Foot professionals will often first recommend the least invasive option of prescribing low-dose antibiotics first. If the infection is more severe and widespread, the nail may be surgically removed. The more a patient lets his or her infected toenail get out of hand, the more invasive and costlier the required treatment will be. Additionally, surgery will entail some discomfort and recovery time that may be difficult to fit into your busy schedule.
Ingrown toenails can lead to serious infections. Those who have a compromised immune system and those with diabetes can contract major complications and additional infections with an untreated ingrown toenail. The most common health risk to these patients is cellulitis where the surrounding skin of the toe gets destroyed with bacteria from the infection. In some cases, skin cells may die, leaving areas of the ties compromised and more vulnerable to bacteria and germ infiltration into deeper layers of skin. In very rare cases, the infection can get so deep that it can infect bone tissue and one’s blood cells.
Ingrown toenails are common foot conditions that are usually not serious nor pose any health threat if they are promptly treated. If the nails become infected, immediate at home or professional care is required. Untreated infected nails can lead to serious health conditions for patients who are diabetics or who have a weakened immune system. These nails can lower one’s quality of life by making it difficult and uncomfortable to move on one’s feet and treatment will become more expensive and invasive the more widespread and severe the infection gets.
If you have an infected ingrown toenail that isn’t getting better and is impacting your life, contact your podiatrist to schedule an appointment.