Ingrown Toenails are a common presentation to both podiatrists and general practitioners, and may occur at any age over the lifespan. Here, we answer common questions about ingrown toenails, helping you to understand how and why they occur, and what to do about them.
Why do ingrown toenails occur?
There a multiple factors which may lead to the development of an ingrown nail, including poor nail cutting technique, trauma to the nail, ill-fitting footwear, pressure due to deformities of the toes include bunions and hammertoes, bone spurring at the tip of the toe which lies underneath the nail, and the use of certain medications.
What causes the pain and inflammation?
Either side of the edge of the nail may press into the side of the skin, potentially also penetrating the skin. After a long period of pressure at the skin, the site becomes irritated and may result in chronic inflammatory tissue developing. once the skin has been penetrated, there is an increased risk of an infection developing.
What is the first step in treatment?
At the first sign of an ingrown nail, it is important to seek early treatment to prevent a chronic issue developing and reduce the risk of an infection. The edge of the nail may be able to be gently trimmed to relive the area of pressure. If infection is present, antibiotics may be required. Education on nail cutting technique is also central to preventing future issues.
What if the issue is ongoing?
If an ingrown nail continues to be painful despite conservative treatment, or infections continue to result, a minor procedure may be performed to permanently remove the ingrowing portion of the nail. This involves using a small amount of local anaesthetic to numb the area prior to removal of the nail spicule. Following the procedure, a small wound is present which is dressed daily until healed.
For more information on ingrown toenails, or treatment options, book online with Natasha or Chris - click here to make a booking