Ingrown Toenail: What to do about an ingrown toenail…

Pain from an ingrown toenail can be excruciating.  Don’t let it drag you down.  Read on to learn about this very common condition and how to manage it.

An ingrown toenail (Onychocryptosis) is one of the most common conditions presented to Podiatrists. An ingrown toenail can result from either: i) a nail growing into the paronychium which is the flesh surrounding the nail, or ii) growth of the paronychium inwards into the nail bed.     

Ingrown toenails can be very painful and often start with inflammation of the flesh surrounding the nail. Redness, swelling, pain and sometimes infection can occur at the affected nail.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

There is no single cause for ingrown toenails. Some of the causes of an ingrown toenail include pressure from poor fitting shoes, trauma to the nail, incorrect nail cutting technique and slightly curved and thick toenails due to hereditary factors.  

Tips on managing an ingrown toenail

 The good news is that ingrown toenails can be managed. Here’s what you can do:

  • No more bathroom surgery! – Hacking away at the toenail yourself will only make things worse. Using non-sterile and often unsuitable instruments can lead to significant deformity and infection of the nail.  
  • Ditch those poor fitting shoes – Invest in wide fitting shoes with plenty of room around the toes. You don’t want too much pressure from footwear against the side of the nail.
  • Follow basic hygiene – Clean the affected nail with antibacterial soap and apply antiseptic daily, ensure you keep the nail covered with a sterile dressing.
  • Cut the nail correctly – Trim the nail straight across from one corner to the other. Avoid curving into the corners.
  • If you can lift the edge of the ingrown nail up with your fingernail then do this 2-3 times a day.


What to do if an ingrown toenail continues to be painful

It is highly recommended that you seek assistance if pain persists. Seek help from your GP if the infection worsens or better still visit a Podiatrist in the early phase of an ingrown toenail. Don’t wait until there is an infection!

The Footcare Clinic Podiatrists deal with ingrown toenail treatments all of the time.  We can help advise on a plan and educate you on how to avoid the problem from recurring.

Treatment often involves removing both nail spikes that are the cause of pain, without local anaesthetic. If the nail is severely ingrown, we can also use local anaesthetic to numb your toe to remove an ingrown toenail painlessly. For a more permanent solution, our Podiatrists can perform a small surgical procedure to remove a wedge or section of the nail and then  apply a chemical to stop that section of the nail from growing back. This permanent solution is great for those who have persistent ingrown toenails on the same toe.

So don’t put up with the pain, take action and and stop a simple ingrown toenail from dragging you down.

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