Ingrown Toenails Specialist

Gerald Austin, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in San Jose, CA

You may not think of ingrown toenails as a valid reason to seek medical treatment, but if they become infected or you get them regularly, you should see a podiatrist. At his office in San Jose, California, Gerald D. Austin, DPM, can expertly treat simple and complicated cases of ingrown toenails and can help you prevent them in the future. To book an appointment with Dr. Austin, call the office or book online today.

Ingrown Toenails Q&A

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is when the corner of the side of your toenail, most commonly on your big toe, starts to grow into the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails cause pain, redness, and swelling. Moreover, they can become prone to infection, in which case there may also be drainage (pus) in the area.

You usually get an ingrown toenail because you cut your toenail too short or into jagged, rounded, or irregular ends. You’re also more likely to get an ingrown toenail if you:

  • Have poor foot hygiene
  • Wear shoes or socks that are too tight, pushing your toenails into the skin
  • Recently stubbed, kicked, or dropped something onto your toe
  • Have poor posture when walking or standing

Many ingrown toenails are treatable at home, but they sometimes require medical attention, such as when symptoms worsen, or the toenail becomes infected, as the infection can spread. It’s especially important to have Dr. Austin treat ingrown toenails if you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor circulation or if you have a weakened immune system because the toenails heal more slowly and are more prone to infection.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

The majority of ingrown toenails are minor and respond to simple at-home care. If you have an ingrown toenail that causes only minor discomfort, the following steps will usually help the wound to heal in 2-4 days:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day
  • Apply antibiotic ointment or cream and cover the wound with a bandage after soaking
  • Wear open-toed shoes that won’t rub against the affected toe

You should book an appointment with Dr. Austin if your toenail becomes infected, causing symptoms such as:

  • Worsened redness and swelling
  • Drainage (pus) from area
  • More intense pain
  • A foul smell around the area

In cases of infection, your doctor will first prescribe antibiotics to calm the infection. If the antibiotics don’t work, as a foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Austin can surgically remove the affected portion of the nail to relieve the pressure on your skin and allow your nail to grow back healthily. This is an outpatient procedure performed with a local anesthetic.

If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem or you have an ingrown toenail that keeps getting worse, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Dr. Austin by calling or using the online booking tool today.