Ingrown Toenail Specialist

Mafutaga S. Tagaloa-Tulifau, D.P.M. -  - Podiatrist

Tagaloa-Tulifau Foot & Ankle Care Center, Inc

Mafutaga S. Tagaloa-Tulifau, D.P.M.

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Lakewood, CA

Ingrown toenails seem to appear suddenly and clear up quickly, but in the meantime, you’ll experience some degree of pain. It’s important to seek medical care from an experienced podiatrist like Dr. Mafutaga Tagaloa-Tulifau if you have a persistent ingrown toenail that doesn’t clear up because it can quickly become infected. Call her practice, Tagaloa-Tulifau Foot & Ankle Center, Inc in Lakewood, California, or book an appointment online anytime you need attention for a painful toe or foot.

Ingrown Toenail Q & A

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenail, or onychocryptosis, occurs when the corner of a toenail grows into the skin. While any toe can develop an ingrown toenail, it usually happens in the big toe. The most common causes include:

  • Shoes that push the nail against the skin
  • Nail that’s poorly trimmed or thickened
  • History of toe injuries
  • Fungal infections
  • Foot deformities that put pressure on the toe


What symptoms develop from an ingrown toenail?

When a toenail pierces the skin, the area becomes red, swollen, and painful. Sharp pain that worsens when you walk or put weight on your toe is the most common symptom.

Ingrown toenails that don’t clear up often become infected, causing more severe pain and drainage. If it goes untreated, the infection can spread to the bone and into your body.


How is an ingrown toenail treated?

Conservative treatment for an ingrown toenail usually includes:

  • Soaking in lukewarm, soapy water, then applying a topical antibiotic or steroid cream
  • Shoes with a wide toe box or open toe
  • Cotton wick or toe taping to help drainage

If your ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to conservative treatment or it becomes infected, Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau may recommend surgically removing the whole nail or just the part of the toenail that’s ingrown. It can be done using a laser, chemical agents, excision, electrocautery or curettage.


How can you prevent an ingrown toenail?

The best way to prevent the problem is by:


Wear shoes that are the right size. Avoid pointed toes or any style of shoe that compresses your big toe.


Property trimmed toenails are less likely to become ingrown. Trim your toenails straight across and keep them at a moderate length – toenails that are too short are more likely to grow into the surrounding skin. Also be sure to check your feet daily for sores or signs of redness so you can get treatment early.


When should you see a doctor?

Many people try to treat an ingrown toenail on their own, or they just wait to see if it heals and goes away. If you experience severe discomfort or have signs of infection, like pus, call Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau or book an appointment online.