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The Dangers of Performing Bathroom Surgery on Your Ingrown Toenail

Feb 06, 2024
Undoubtedly, ingrown toenails are a painful nuisance – but should you be trying to cut them out on your own? Read on to discover the inherent dangers of bathroom surgery at home for an ingrown toenail.

If you've ever had an ingrown toenail, you know how painful they can get, especially when they become infected. Although these nails are painful, you shouldn't always care for them yourself.

"Bathroom surgery" on your ingrown nail has serious consequences, including severe infections. You may be able to take care of a minor ingrown toenail on your own, but trying to cut it out is a bad idea.

At Toe-Tal Foot and Ankle Care, Dr. Daniel Cairns and his team provide safe and efficient care for various foot and ankle conditions, including ingrown toenails. Dr. Cairns is an experienced podiatrist who helps you eliminate the ingrown toenail for permanent relief.

Signs of an ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is common among many who cut their nails incorrectly. It happens most often to the big toe but can occur in any of your nails.

When you have an ingrown toenail, the corners of the affected nail dig into the skin on the sides of the affected toe. The result is pain, inflammation, and possibly an infection. You know you have an ingrown toenail if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling around the nail
  • Redness or discoloration
  • Warmth around the toe
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Pus or drainage from the toe

A mild to moderate ingrown toenail causes symptoms but should be manageable. You can keep the area from becoming infected by soaking the foot in Epsom salts or warm water a few times daily.

You should keep the foot dry any other time and apply antibiotic cream and a bandage if there are open areas around the nail. Take anti-inflammatory medications to control the discomfort you have with an ingrown nail.

Don't try to cut it out yourself

It's tempting to try cutting the ingrown part of the nail out yourself, especially if it's causing you much pain. However, it's never a good idea to perform "bathroom surgery" on your toe.

Even though removing your ingrown nail is extremely painful, it's also an excellent way to present bacteria into the skin. You could do a lot more damage by removing the side of the nail on your own.

Besides worsening the nail or situation, infection is also a severe risk when removing the ingrown nail. An infected nail is the worst result and may cause further issues with the toe or nail.

The bottom line is never try to cut an ingrown toenail out alone. If you're experiencing intense pain or noticing signs of an infection, you must seek treatment from Dr. Cairns as soon as possible.

Getting treatment for an ingrown toenail

After trying home remedies to treat an ingrown toenail without success, you should seek professional help from Dr. Cairns, especially if you have pain or notice signs of an impending infection.

Dr. Cairns carefully evaluates the nail and provides treatment based on your symptoms and specific needs. The first resort is often lifting the nail and placing a type of splint beneath it to prevent further growth into the skin.

He may also need to remove the part of the nail that has grown into the skin to prevent further ingrown toenails from forming. In severe cases, he may need to perform surgery to remove the entire nail and surrounding tissues, especially in the case of a severe infection.

If your nail doesn't require invasive treatment, he may offer tips to keep the toe comfortable while the nail bed heals. Dr. Cairns also gives you strategies to prevent any other nails from becoming ingrown, such as cutting the nails straight across, not at an angle.

Call our office at 817-518-7348  today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cairns for an ingrown toenail, or send the team a message on our website.