Experiencing an infection after toenail removal is not uncommon. It’s important to promptly address and treat the infection to prevent further complications. Here are some steps to take if you have an infected toenail after removal:
- Consult a healthcare professional: Reach out to a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or general practitioner, who can evaluate the infection and provide appropriate treatment. They may examine the affected area, determine the severity of the infection, and prescribe medications if necessary.
- Keep the area clean: Clean the affected area with mild soap and warm water. Gently pat it dry and avoid rubbing or irritating the wound. Maintaining cleanliness helps prevent the infection from spreading.
- Apply topical treatments: Depending on the severity of the infection, your healthcare professional may recommend applying over-the-counter or prescription topical ointments or creams to help combat the infection. Follow their instructions carefully.
- Take oral antibiotics if prescribed: In some cases, oral antibiotics may be necessary to treat a more severe infection. If your healthcare professional prescribes antibiotics, make sure to take the full course as directed, even if the symptoms improve.
- Keep the wound covered: Use sterile dressings or bandages to cover the wound, especially if there is drainage or oozing. This helps prevent further contamination and promotes healing.
- Avoid tight or restrictive footwear: Opt for open-toe shoes or loose-fitting footwear that allows for proper airflow and reduces pressure on the affected toe. Tight shoes can worsen the infection and delay healing.
- Follow post-care instructions: Your healthcare professional will provide specific instructions for post-care and wound management. Follow their guidance regarding activities, cleaning, and any necessary follow-up appointments.
It’s essential to monitor the infection closely and seek medical attention if it worsens or does not improve with initial treatments. Signs of worsening infection may include increased pain, redness, swelling, or drainage.
What Are the Causes of Infected Toenail?
An infected toenail, or onychomycosis, is typically caused by a fungus called dermatophytes. However, bacteria and other fungi can lead to an infection. Fungi are the suspected cause since they multiply in a moist and warm environment.
After your toenail removal, the wound can get infected from the surrounding skin. Some patients have already had fungi or bacteria on their skin, which can infect the wound if it is not properly taken care of.
Even though skin can harbor fungi and bacteria, genetics, age, and other health conditions such as diabetes play a role as well. In fact, some people are just more prone to toenail infections.
What Are the Symptoms You Should Look Out For?
Symptoms of an infected toenail are easily noticeable. The signs can be noticed just by looking at the toenail. Generally, the common symptoms include:
- Swelling – If the area around the toenail starts to swell, the infection has started spreading.
- Pain – Are you trying to walk and all you can feel is pain with each step? This is a sure sign something is wrong with the wound.
- Discoloration – When the color of your toenail starts to change to yellow and green, you can suspect that the infection has occurred.
- Drainage – Fluid coming out of the wound indicates an infection.
- Odor – Fungi and bacteria overgrowth generally cause a foul odor.
What Are the Home Remedies for Infected Toenail?
While it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment of an infected toenail, there are some home remedies that may help alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Here are a few home remedies that can be used alongside medical treatment:
- Warm Soaks: Soaking the infected toe in warm water can help reduce pain, swelling, and promote healing. Add a teaspoon of salt or antibacterial solution to warm water and soak your foot for 15-20 minutes a few times a day.
- Epsom Salt: Epsom salt has antimicrobial properties and can help reduce inflammation. Dissolve Epsom salt in warm water and soak your foot as directed.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial properties. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in a carrier oil, such as olive oil, and apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball. Leave it on for a few hours before rinsing.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that may help combat infection. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and warm water, soak a cotton ball in the mixture, and apply it to the infected area. Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse with water.
- Proper Foot Hygiene: Keeping your feet clean and dry is important for preventing and managing infections. Wash your feet regularly with mild soap, dry them thoroughly, and avoid walking barefoot in public areas.
- OTC Antibacterial Creams: Over-the-counter antibacterial creams or ointments, such as those containing bacitracin or neomycin, can be applied topically to the infected area following the product instructions.
It’s crucial to note that these home remedies should be used as adjuncts to professional medical care and not as a substitute for it. If the infection worsens or does not improve with home remedies, it is essential to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional for further evaluation and appropriate treatment.
How Can You Prevent Infection?
People can get toenail infection when they don’t properly take care of their feet. Even though toenail removal carries a risk of infection in case the wound is not cleaned well, one can prevent it with proper foot care. This means feet should be cleaned with warm and soapy water and dried properly.
Wearing proper footwear that supports the foot and allows your feet to breathe without causing heloma durum or painful heloma molle will also keep infection at bay. Don’t forget that sharing toenail clippers and nail files is a big no-no. It can only lead to problems with nails in the future. Therefore, be cautious and practice proper hygiene.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
If the symptoms such as pain, swelling, and inflammation do not subside after applying home remedies and the infection seems to be spreading to other toenails, it’s best to turn to a podiatrist and the surgeon that has performed the toenail removal surgery.
Perhaps medication needs to be prescribed in order to stop the infection from spreading. Therefore, when pain, discharge, and swelling persist, head to the doctor’s office right away.
Consult Your Doctor in Miami About Dealing With Infected Toenail After Removal
Have you started noticing fluid coming out of your toenail and discoloration? Contact us and schedule your appointment as soon as possible. Our experienced staff in Miami will determine the cause of the infection and come up with a solution. Don’t wait until the situation becomes dire.
Luxe Foot Surgery is the place to go whenever you are experiencing issues with your feet. Not only can we nurse your toenails back to health but we can perform procedures such as toe shortening, bunion surgeries, ankle surgeries, and toe lengthening as well as prosthetic nail surgeries so you can walk without any pain again. Give us a call right away!
How Do I Know if My Toe Is Infected After Toenail Removal?
Following removal, an infected toenail may exhibit a variety of symptoms. These can include pain or discomfort, pus or drainage from the area, and redness and swelling around the toe. Your toe might feel warm to the touch, and you might also have a fever or other infection-related symptoms like chills or sweating.
What Happens If You Get an Infection After Toenail Removal?
Without prompt medical attention, the infection may spread to other body regions and even cause complications. After removal, the typical course of treatment for an infected toenail entails antibiotics, wound treatment, and occasionally additional surgical procedures to remove any infected tissue.
How Common Is Infection After Toenail Removal?
Although it is not very frequent, infection after toenail removal is a potential complication. Studies have found that less than 5% of toenail removal procedures result in overall infection.
When Should I Be Worried About an Infected Toenail?
As soon as you notice clear signs of an infection, such as swelling, pain, and discoloration, you should try to alleviate the symptoms and stop the infection from spreading. If there is no improvement after some time, seek medical attention.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. (2002, June 15). Onychomycosis: Current Trends in Diagnosis and Treatment. American Family Physician, 65(12), 2557-2564. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2002/0615/p2557.html
- Healthdirect. (n.d.). Toenail Infection. Retrieved from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/toenail-infection
- Healthline. (n.d.). Don’t Use Bleach to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/dont-use-bleach-to-get-rid-of-toenail-fungus#takeaway
- Healthline. (n.d.). Fungal Nail Infection. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/fungal-nail-infection