Ingrown Toenails Specialist

American Foot & Ankle Specialists

Kriti Puthenpurakal, DPM

Board Certified Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Naperville, IL & Downer's Grove, IL

Ingrown toenails are a common foot issue, affecting 20% of all Americans. They develop in people of all ages and can happen at any time. If you have an ingrown toenail and live in Northeastern Illinois, make an appointment to see Kriti Puthenpurakal, DPM, at American Foot & Ankle Specialists in Naperville, Illinois. She’s an experienced podiatrist who creates customized treatment plans that consider how advanced your condition is. Call the practice today to schedule a consultation or book your visit online.

Ingrown Toenails Q&A

What are ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail happens when your toenail’s edge or corner grows into the skin next to the nail. This typically affects the big toe.

If you have thick or curved nails, you're more at risk of your toenails becoming ingrown, although anyone can develop one.

Dr. Puthenpurakal checks for the early signs of an ingrown toenail and recommends preventive measures.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails develop because of lifestyle choices, health conditions, and foot hygiene.

Foot care

Having sweaty or unclean feet, incorrectly trimmed toenails, and poorly fitting shoes all cause ingrown toenails.


Your toenails thicken as you get older, so you become more prone to ingrown toenails with age.

Health conditions

People who have vascular conditions, numbness in their toes, or diabetes are more vulnerable to ingrown toenails. They also have more severe complications when they develop. Ingrown toenails also form as a side-effect of a toenail injury.

Sports activity

Activities like ballet, soccer, football, and boxing place particularly high stress on your toes, causing toenail damage. Toenail damage can, in turn, cause ingrown toenails. 

Taking care of your feet and being aware of the potential risks helps prevent your nails from becoming ingrown.

What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails are typically painful. The longer one goes untreated, the worse it gets. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen, tender, and hardened skin around the nail
  • Fluid buildup around the toe
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Oozing pus

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Puthenpurakal right away.

How are ingrown toenails treated?

If you catch an ingrown toenail early, you can treat it at home. Once it goes too far, though, you'll need the medical expertise of a podiatric specialist like Dr. Puthenpurakal.

Home treatment

Soaking your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes and using over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil®) and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) help manage discomfort. Antibiotic cream prevents infection. If, after several days, there’s no improvement, see Dr. Puthenpurakal.

Medical treatment

If your ingrown toenail gets worse, Dr. Puthenpurakal can prescribe oral antibiotics, and partially or entirely remove the nail, part of the nail bed, and/or the soft tissues around the nail.

When you partner with American Foot & Ankle Specialists, you can be rid of an ingrown toenail in no time. Call the practice to make an appointment today, or book online.