An ingrown toenail can be a very painful nail condition that can cause deterioration to a patients quality of life. They are small sharp spikes of nail that have pierced through the skin causing pain and can lead to infection. Ingrown toenails most commonly occur on the big toe, however they can also affect the little toes. Ingrown toenails can be genetic, caused by poor footwear or trauma. Although as podiatrists we regularly see ingrown toenails due to poor nail cutting techniques.
Sometimes an ingrown toenail can lead to infection. The toe will be red, hot and swollen and very uncomfortable to walk on. Patients often complain that even their bedding is aggravating their toe! If this is how your toe feels it is recommended to see a podiatrist.
Seeing a podiatrist will help minimise the pain because they will remove the piece of nail causing the problems then the toe will be dressed with an antiseptic dressing. This is done by careful precision. The podiatrist will lift the skin around the nail then trim the nail back, this will allow clearing out any debris that may have caused the nail to grow inwards. This debris can be caused by a number of factors including sock fluff, dead skin or small pieces of nail.
Unfortunately, some of us are prone to ingrown toenails and there are permanent methods of removing a small portion of the nail and applying a chemical so it cannot grow back. This process is called nail surgery which is done under a local anaesthetic so you cannot feel any pain! Our podiatrists here at The Hampden Foot and Leg clinic are specialists and will make you feel at ease when treating your ingrown toenail discussing the best treatment for you.
Tips to avoid ingrown toenails:
- Cut your toenails along the contour of your nail.
- Avoid cutting a ‘V’ in the middle – this will not prevent the ingrown toenail growing back!
- Don’t cut your toenails too short.
- File the nails to ensure there are no ragged edges.
- Do not cut your cuticles.
- Change your socks daily.
- Wear shoes that fit the shape of your foot.