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Ingrown Toenails: A Dangerous Problem for Diabetic Feet

Nov 18, 2019 | Diabetic Foot Care

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes, then you likely already know to look for some specific warning signs and symptoms that might indicate it’s time to visit a podiatrist. Anything from a simple fungal infection to common foot deformities can easily turn into major complications.

Why?

Simply put, diabetic feet often have trouble fending off infections due to decreased functioning of the immune and circulatory systems. This is especially true when peripheral neuropathy is thrown into the mix – this condition can rob you of sensation in your lower limbs and keep you from being able to recognize when something is wrong with your feet.

An ingrown toenail, for instance, may go unnoticed for a while simply because you can’t feel the pain and discomfort caused by it, and when left untreated, the problem will surely become worse over time as you continue to place pressure on the nail and engage in the activities that are leading the nail to become ingrown in the first place.

And if your body is unable to heal wounds properly, simple conditions like ingrown toenails can easily turn into a nightmare!

But no worries – here you will learn how to recognize the early signs of ingrown toenails and what you should do when you develop concerning symptoms in your lower limbs, whether it be caused by an ingrown toenail or any other foot conditions.

Know What Causes Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can develop for many reasons. However, wearing ill-fitting shoes and practicing improper toenail trimming habits are two of its major causes. Ingrown toenails can come about that easily!

Fortunately, preventing this problem is just as simple:

  • Choose footwear that allows your feet to fit comfortably. Make sure there is plenty of room in the toe box for your toes to move freely. Never buy shoes that are too tight or too loose, or that crowd your toes in the toe box. Your footwear should also allow room for any existing foot deformities, like a bunions – doing so will prevent undue pressure points that may lead to other problems, including blisters, corns, and calluses.
  • Trim your toenails the right way. Contrary to what many people believe, you should never round your toenails when trimming. Instead, always cut them straight across. Make sure your nails are not too long or too short, and use a nail file to take care of any rough edges, if you wish.
  • Perform daily foot inspections to catch problems early. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of diabetic foot care. Checking your feet on a daily basis will help prevent not only ingrown toenails from turning into a real problem, but also other foot conditions that can lead to serious complications. (Click here to find out how to perform a comprehensive diabetic foot inspection and what to look for.)

Of course, we also understand that things can still happen despite all preventative efforts, and when this is the case, it’s important that you recognize the early signs of ingrown toenail development so you can nip the problem in the bud as soon as possible.

Recognize the Symptoms

Pain and discomfort are two of the most obvious symptoms when it comes to ingrown toenails. But what if peripheral neuropathy is keeping you from experiencing these symptoms? There are other tell-tale signs you can keep your eye out for – below are just a few:

  • Redness of tissue around nail
  • Swelling of tissue around nail
  • Infection of tissue around nail
  • Tissue around the nail becomes hard
  • Fluid or pus buildup around the nail

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you seek medical treatment right away. At Wilks Advanced Foot Care, we have the best treatments available to get rid of your ingrown toenail once and for all – from conservative measures like prescribing diabetic footwear, to more permanent solutions like partial removal of the nail.

Remember, a simple ingrown toenail may not be “that big of a deal” for most people, but if you are living with diabetes, ignoring this simple condition can certainly result in painful ulcers, and even amputation.

So, don’t wait until it’s too late!

Get the Help You Need Today

At the first signs of an ingrown toenail, please give us a call right away at (541) 673-0742 to schedule an appointment today. If you prefer to reach out to us electronically, our online contact form is always available on our website – simply fill out and submit this form and one of our staff members will connect with you shortly.