How to Know If Your Ingrown Toenail Is Infected

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How to Know If Your Ingrown Toenail Is Infected

Having an ingrown toenail is common, but they can be serious, as they have the potential to lead to infection. Find out how to tell if your ingrown toenail is infected and how it’s treated here.

Ingrown toenails happen when your nail grows into the skin surrounding it. Symptoms of ingrown toenails include pain, swelling, and inflammation. Ingrown toenails can occur on any of your toes, but typically your big toe is most at risk.

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected, which can lead to severe pain. Not only is an infected ingrown toenail painful, but the infection can spread to other parts of your body and cause complications. For this reason, it’s imperative that you learn to recognize signs of an ingrown toenail infection so you know when to seek medical attention.

Nathan Hansen, DPM and the rest of our team at Hansen Foot & Ankle have expertise in diagnosing and treating ingrown toenails, and we want you to know the telltale signs of an infected ingrown toenail.

Symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail

You can tell that you have an ingrown toenail if the skin surrounding it is painful and swollen. But here are some of the following signs that it’s become infected:

  • Throbbing and pain around the toe
  • Inflammation beneath the toenail
  • Toenail discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Pus
  • Oozing
  • Foul smell
  • A yellow, thick nail

You may also notice that the skin surrounding your toe is warm or hot to the touch.

Potential complications of infected ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are common, but they all have the potential to lead to complications since they’re vulnerable to both fungal and bacterial infections. One of the most dangerous complications is a Staph infection since it’s resistant to antibiotics. In severe cases, these infections can travel to your bone and require intravenous treatment. 

How infected ingrown toenails are treated

At Hansen Foot & Ankle, Dr. Hansen offers a few different treatment options for infected ingrown toenails depending on the severity of your infection.

Partial nail removal

If your infection is severe, Dr. Hansen removes part of your nail. This is done by numbing the surrounding area and removing the infected portion of the toenail. 

Full nail removal 

When your ingrown nail is severely infected, or if you have recurrent ingrown toenails, Dr. Hansen suggests a full removal of the nail. During this procedure, Dr. Hansen removes the nail and part of the surrounding tissue.

To get relief for your ingrown toenail and to avoid infection, contact our team at Hansen Foot & Ankle located in Mill Creek, Washington to get medical attention today. You can set up an appointment with us by calling our office at 425-537-3777 or by using our online scheduler