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INGROWN TOENAILS – TIPS FOR PREVENTION AND CURE!

Updated: Sep 9

WHAT ARE INGROWN TOENAILS?

Ingrown toenails are a condition where the corner of your toenail grows into the skin next to the nail, most commonly experienced with your big toe. Once the edge of the nail breaks through the skin, it produces inflammation and may progress to an infection.


Ingrown toenails occur in both men and women, with the risk increasing in teenagers, athletes, and as you get older due to the toenails thickening with age.


If you have diabetes, you are also at a higher risk of complications with ingrown toenails, so staying on top of prevention and treatment becomes even more critical.

COMMON CAUSES OF INGROWN TOENAILS

There are a number of things that can cause this common ailment, including:

  • Incorrect cutting of the toenails

  • Irregular, curved or wide shaped toenails

  • Footwear that places pressure on the big toes – shoes that are too small/tight, narrow or high heeled shoes

  • Injury to your toenail including stubbing your toe, dropping something heavy on your foot etc.

  • Poor foot hygiene

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Activities in which you repeatedly kick an object or put pressure on your feet for long periods of time. These activities include ballet, football, kickboxing, soccer.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN INGROWN TOENAIL?

  • Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail

  • The skin next to the nail becoming tender, red or swollen

  • Infection of the tissue around your toenail including bleeding or signs of pus

  • Fluid build-up around the toe

  • Overgrowth of skin around the toe

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE?

There are both home remedy and podiatric treatment options when it comes to ingrown toenails, depending of course on the severity and regularity of your particular situation.

HOME REMEDIES

  • Soak your feet in warm, salty water

  • Pack the nail edge with cotton wool

  • Apply an antiseptic ointment

  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks


If home remedies are not successful within a week or there is persistent pain and/or signs of infection, a visit to the podiatrist is recommended.

PODIATRY TREATMENT

  • If the toe is not infected, your podiatrist may be able to trim the ingrown nail edge, without any discomfort carefully.

  • If your ingrown nail is severe or reoccurring, we can perform a procedure called a partial nail avulsion with matrix phenolisation. This procedure involves removing the edge of the offending nail and sterilising the nail bed for a permanent solution to your chronic ingrown nail. This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, and the recovery time is fast. Most people can return to work the next day if they can wear an open-toed shoe (e.g., sandals/thongs) for a few days.

SO, HOW CAN YOU PREVENT INGROWN TOENAILS?

  • Trim your toenails straight across and make sure that the edges do not curve in

  • Avoid cutting toenails too short

  • Wear proper-fitting shoes, socks, and tights

  • See your podiatrist immediately if your nail becomes sore


Our experienced Podiatrist, Jess, wrote this article. To book an appointment with Jess at our Northpoint Toowoomba clinic to discuss your ingrown toenail concerns, click here.


To learn more about ingrown toenail services at Sole Focus Podiatry, click here.

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