Ingrown Toenail & Toenail Fungus Treatment in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella

Our team of specialists at East Village Foot and Ankle Surgeons provide a higher standard of foot and ankle care. Located in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella, we utilize the latest technologies and procedures to serve the foot and ankle needs of surrounding communities. This includes ingrown toenails and toenail fungus infections. While these conditions are small, they can cause a great amount of pain often getting in the way of everyday life. The good news is, you don’t need to live with this type of pain, and there are treatment options available. 

Ingrown Toenails: Pain, Infections and More

If you begin to feel discomfort and tenderness on the skin surrounding your toenail, ingrown toenail infection could be the cause. Ingrown toenails can be painful and worsen as time goes on. If left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to infection in the bone of your toe. Luckily, there are a variety of ingrown toenail infection treatment options to choose from.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail, often due to lack of trimming your nails or trimming them too short, begins to grow in an abnormal direction or pattern and digs into the surrounding skin on the toe. There are many factors that can cause ingrown toenails, many of which occur in both men and women. However, older individuals are at a higher risk as our toenails thicken with time. Individuals with sweaty feet may also be more susceptible to developing an ingrown toenail. Some of the most common causes our foot and ankle specialists identify include:

  • Tight-fitting shoes

  • Improper trimming of toenails

  • Poor posture

  • Fungal infections

  • Injury near the nail or trauma causing repetitive damage to the nail

  • Genetic predisposition – the shape of the nail significantly impacts the likelihood of developing an ingrown nail

If you participate in sports or activities that require repetitive pressure to your toe, you are at a higher risk for developing an ingrown toenail. It is important that athletes wear proper footwear and practice proper foot hygiene regularly. 

Ingrown Toenail Infection Treatment at East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons

Depending on whether your ingrown toenail is infected, it may be treated at home. However, once the ingrown toenail has penetrated the surrounding skin, professional ingrown toenail infection treatment is required. Our specialists at East Village Foot and Ankle Surgeons begin with an antibiotic treatment. This can include oral (typically only recommended if the patient experiences cellulitis or pus near the ingrown toenail) or antibacterial soaks in warm water. 

There are many home remedies you can try if infection is not yet present. Although, medical attention is often the best and most effective ingrown toenail treatment. Ask your doctor or podiatrist what ingrown toenail infection treatment option is right for you. If you have any questions regarding ingrown toenail symptoms, causes or treatment, contact our team of specialists at EVFAS today. 

When should you go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail?

Our doctors are often asked when it’s best to seek medical treatment for an ingrown toenail. If your ingrown toenail has developed into an infection you should contact a foot and ankle specialist right away. An ingrown toenail infection can affect the bone of your toe and lead to more chronic conditions. If you experience inflammation, home remedies have had no effect after the first few days of trying them. 

In addition, pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or poor circulation can cause complications. A podiatrist can properly diagnose your condition and help you choose the best ingrown toenail infection treatment option to get you back on your feet and living pain-free. 

Toenail Fungus

An infection of the toenail is called onychomycosis (on-i-ko-my-ko-sis). Infection can originate from a variety of things such as molds, yeasts and fungi. All of these can grow in the cracks of the toenail and surrounding skin. A common fungal infection known as athlete’s foot most often originates from walking around communal locker rooms or spaces barefoot. 

Nail fungus is more common among the older population. Factors that can increase the risk of developing nail fungus include walking barefoot in a damp environment – such as around a swimming pool – circulation problems, diabetes, and a weakened immunity system.

What does a toenail fungal infection look like?

For those with a toenail fungal infection, the nail may look brownish, yellowish or have little white patches. It may also be flaky, brittle, ragged and chipped, and debris may collect beneath it. The toenail can get so thick that wearing shoes causes pain. Infected nails may also separate from the nail bed, a condition called onycholysis.

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus treatment options vary depending on the severity of your particular condition. Nail fungus can also be rather difficult to treat. After proper diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe one or multiple of the following:  

  • Oral antifungal medications – this treatment option may take up to three months or longer to eliminate an infection. These medications may be contraindicated in patients with liver disease. 

  • Topical treatments – these include antifungal creams and medicated nail lacquers.

When should you go to the doctor for toenail fungus?

Fungal toenail infections get worse over time, so when you begin to notice the early symptoms be sure to contact your doctor or podiatrist. Scheduling an appointment early on will give your podiatrist the best chance at getting rid of your infection entirely, and sooner. If you begin to notice your nail turning brown or black, experience pain, or your nail begins to pull away from the nail bed, we encourage you to contact our foot and ankle specialists at EVFAS. Ignoring your toenail fungus infection can lead to serious complications including foot pain, the infection spreading to other areas, the loss of your nail and more.. 

What is the best treatment for toenail fungus?

When it comes to toenail fungus treatment options there is no “one-size-fits-all solution.” Your doctor will choose the best toenail fungus treatment based on the severity of your unique condition. If you are in the early stages of infection, oral or topical medications may be all you need. However, individuals experiencing more severe symptoms may require surgery. This is why it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as you start noticing signs of infection. Oral antifungal medications often prove to be effective, eliminating infections entirely. Depending on your case we strongly suggest this toenail fungus treatment option to begin with as the majority of our patients are left satisfied with the effects.

Trust the Foot & Ankle Experts at East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons

Our foot and ankle specialists in Des Moines, Mason City, and Pella are proud to use industry-leading technology and procedures to treat your condition, ensuring you experience the best outcome possible. Find out which treatment option is best for your ingrown toenail or toenail fungus infection. Schedule an appointment today, or call our Iowa ankle surgeons with any questions related to these conditions. As Iowa’s leading podiatrist, we offer a higher standard of foot and ankle care so you can get back to your active lifestyle and pain-free living.