There are various complications associated with diabetes. If you have this condition, foot problems can pose significant risks, especially if you develop an ingrown toenail. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, inflammation, and potential infections. For patients with diabetes, this can develop into a dangerous foot wound due to impaired circulation and compromised immune responses. Seeing an experienced DFW podiatrist at the first sign of a problem is crucial to avoid the complications associated with ingrown toenails and diabetic wounds.

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foot with ingrown toenail and possible infectionThe Dangers of Ingrown Toenails and Diabetic Wounds

Diabetes affects blood flow and nerve sensation in the extremities, making the feet vulnerable to various problems. If a toenail is not trimmed properly or becomes injured, an ingrown toenail can result. Having an ingrown toenail is a concern if you have diabetes since it can lead to a foot wound if the nail penetrates the skin. This can create an entry point for bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.

The compromised blood flow associated with diabetes delays the body's ability to deliver immune cells and essential nutrients to the injured area, slowing the natural healing process. As a result, even a minor cut or wound can quickly become a severe infection and ulcer, posing serious risks to your overall health and well-being.

Dangers of Foot Wounds for People With Diabetes

  • Delayed healing. The impaired blood circulation caused by diabetes slows down the healing process, increasing the risk of infection and complications. Wounds due to ingrown toenails that show no signs of improvement or do not heal properly over time can be a cause for concern. A health care professional should assess them to avoid infection and other complications. 
  • Diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy, a specific type of peripheral neuropathy, can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, making it challenging for patients to detect injuries or wounds early on. If you are unable to feel an injury, it can progress and turn into something more serious.
  • Increased infection risk. The combination of high blood sugar levels and reduced immune function provides an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive if you have an ingrown toenail, leading to severe infections.
  • Risk of amputation. If left untreated or inadequately managed, diabetic foot wounds can worsen and may necessitate amputation to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

Signs of a Diabetic Foot Wound

  • Pain or sensitivity. Diabetic foot wounds can be painful or sensitive to the touch, and in some cases, patients may experience a loss of sensation in the affected area due to diabetic neuropathy.
  • Redness and swelling. The affected area may appear red and swollen due to inflammation caused by the body's immune response to the infection.
  • Increased warmth. Infected wounds often generate localized heat or feel warm to the touch.
  • Drainage of pus or fluid. Pus or fluid may ooze from the wound, indicating an active infection that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Foul odor. An unpleasant smell coming from the wound may be a sign of a severe infection.

Why it is Important to Contact a DFW Podiatrist

Early treatment of a diabetic foot wound is vital because an infection can develop rapidly and become difficult to manage. Prompt intervention can prevent infections from spreading and reduce the need for more invasive procedures such as amputation. If you develop a foot wound as a result of an ingrown toenail, you should never attempt self-treatment. You should seek professional medical advice from an experienced DFW podiatrist, especially if you have diabetes.

Signs You Should Contact a Podiatrist in Dallas Fort-Worth

  • If there are indications of infection, such as redness, swelling, drainage, or a foul odor
  • If you have a loss of sensation in your feet or you see changes in your feet
  • If the wound is not healing or is slow to heal

call our DFW podiatrist if you have ingrown toenails and diabetic wounds

Treating Diabetic Foot Wounds in DFW

Timely and appropriate treatment of diabetic foot wounds is essential to prevent complications and preserve the patient's overall health.

Possible Treatment Options

  • Medication. Oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed for mild infections to control bacterial growth.
  • Wound dressings. Proper wound dressings and bandages help keep the wound clean and moist, promoting optimal healing conditions.
  • Debridement. Removing dead tissue from the wound through debridement helps facilitate healing and reduces the risk of infection.
  • Offloading. Reducing pressure on the affected foot through specialized footwear or devices such as crutches or a wheelchair can enhance healing and prevent further damage.
  • Surgery. For severe infections or wounds that are in an advanced state, surgical intervention may be necessary to save the person’s life.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails and Diabetic Wounds

Patients with diabetes may be more prone to foot wounds due to a lack of sensation in their feet or other diabetes-related complications. Failure to promptly address an ingrown toenail can lead to a diabetic foot wound. While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent a diabetic foot wound, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing one, including:

  • Examining your feet daily to look for any signs of a problem, such as an ingrown toenail or other abnormality
  • Protecting your feet by wearing clean, dry socks and shoes that fit properly
  • Washing your feet daily using a mild soap and warm water and keeping them well-moisturized
  • Never soak your feet in hot water or for prolonged periods
  • Cutting your toenails straight across and not rounding the corners of the nails to minimize the chances of ingrown toenails
  • Keeping your blood sugar levels under control
  • Scheduling regular visits with a DFW podiatrist to help detect potential issues early on and prevent them from progressing into more severe problems

Contact Our DFW Foot Doctor for Your Foot and Ankle Health

If you have pain in your feet or ankles, it can negatively impact your life and interfere with your daily routine. You need a compassionate, skilled podiatrist to work with you to determine the cause and provide treatment based on your specific needs. With 30 years of experience, the podiatrists at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists understand the relationship between your feet and your overall health. Whether your condition requires therapy, orthotics, or surgery, we offer leading-edge medical care to address your unique situation.

Schedule a Free Consultation

We offer patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area safe, effective, and affordable treatment plans. If you’re struggling with a foot or an ankle problem, call us today at 817-481-4000, or click the link above to fill out our contact form to make an appointment. 

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