Sometimes, commonplace conditions aren’t given the serious consideration they deserve. The lowly ingrown toenail is one of these. Below are some misconceptions we at Podiatry Center of New Jersey have heard from patients about ingrown toenails that can lead to unnecessary pain and problems.

Ingrown toenails don’t pose a serious medical threat.

Fact: For patients with poor circulation, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, and other conditions that reduce blood flow to the legs and feet, an ingrown toenail can become an open wound. For these patients, healing is difficult and, in the worst-case scenario, can even lead to amputation. Even for patients without these underlying conditions, the likelihood of a serious infection increases once the nail pierces the skin.

There are several home remedies that can be tried before visiting the podiatrist.

Fact: Most of these “remedies” fall into the “folk medicine” category, leading to injury and infection more often than a cure. Don’t try to cut or remove an ingrown toenail with a sharp instrument. Avoid shoving cotton or other material between the nail and nail bed. Over-the-counter medications are also not recommended. The one safe home treatment for a mildly ingrown nail is to soak the toe in warm water and Epsom salts for 15-20 minutes several times a day. This may enable you to massage the nail out from the skin gently. However, if you don’t have success within a few days, you should visit the podiatrist.

Ingrown toenails happen—you really can’t do anything to prevent them.

Fact: Improper nail trimming is the primary reason ingrown nails develop. Cut nails straight across and not too short. Do not round the edges. Other causes of ingrown toenails are untreated fungal infections and wearing shoes that are too tight, especially in the toe box. In some cases, ingrown toenails may be genetic or the result of toe deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.

The treatment for an ingrown nail is so painful that you’ll want to put it off for as long as possible.

Fact: Most patients with ingrown toenails leave our offices with much less pain than they came with. Our podiatrists are gentle, and a numbing agent is sometimes used when treating ingrown nails. Don’t suffer needlessly! Contact us for an appointment today.

At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, our team of doctors treats various conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and dedicated staff, our 16 conveniently located offices provide individualized high-quality care for patients across Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, and Union Counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne, NJ office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.