April is National Keep America Beautiful month. Do you part by picking up trash or planting a tree! It’s important to take care of the things that are important to us, from the country we live in to the feet we walk on every day. An ingrown toenail can turn your toes red and cause swelling, which can be unsightly and uncomfortable! If conservative methods fail it may be time for a toenail procedure to get your feet back to looking beautiful.

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the soft skin surrounding the toe. It can cause infection if left untreated, so you have to act quickly. You can try soaking your feet in warm water and then gently pushing the skin back. This will allow the nail to grow in the correct direction. Some people are more predisposed to getting ingrown nails than others. If this is the case, or if you have a stubborn infection that just won’t go away, you may need to consider having your toenail surgically removed.

Any operation presents its own unique set of potential risks. It’s important to understand what to expect both during the procedure and during the healing period. A toenail removal is done on an outpatient basis, meaning you may leave the same day. You should be prepared to have someone drive you to and from the appointment. You will probably be able to put pressure on your feet, but it may be uncomfortable for a bit.

Many people find relief by putting ice on their feet and keeping them elevated while at rest. Your doctor may prescribe a special shoe for the first few days. You will probably recover pretty quickly, but it’s important to remember to take precautions to prevent another ingrown nail in the future. Remember to always cut your nails straight across when grooming them, and wear shoes that don’t cramp your toes.

If you have more questions about how to treat an ingrown toenail, you should call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in any of our three Massachusetts office locations.