Ingrown toenails are a common medical condition in which the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh that surrounds it. This results in pain and discomfort, redness and swelling, and may
even develop into an infected ingrown toenail. Although they can affect any toe, they usually develop on the big toe.
If you have diabetes or another condition that reduces blood flow to your feet, you are at greater risk of complications arising from ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails may be caused by:
- Cutting your toenails too short, or not straight across. This leaves a nail spike which potentiates the problem
- Wearing shoes that crowd your toes
- Injuring your toenail by blunt trauma
- A genetic predisposition to having curved or pincer like nails which irritate the skin surrounding the nail
You may have an ingrown toenail if you experience:
- Pain and tenderness along one or both sides of your toenail
- Redness surrounding your toenail
- Swelling of the affected toe
- A foul smelling pus coming from the skin surrounding the nail
In minor cases, you may be able to treat your ingrown toenails at home simply by correcting your nail cutting technique or changing into more appropriately fitting footwear. However, in more severe and recurrent cases, these simple approaches may not resolve the ingrown toenail, and your Chiropodist or Podiatrist (Foot Specialists) may recommend a corrective ingrown toenail surgery.
Most people who have ingrown toenails resolve them by:
- Foot soaks: Soaking the affected toe in lukewarm water mixed with Epsom’s salts for 15-20 minutes, twice a day, followed by a gentle cleanse with a soft and clean toenail brush to remove any debris, may lessen the symptoms.
- Antibiotic Cream: Application of an antibiotic cream, such as Polysporin, to the affected area can reduce the risk of infection.
- Nail bracing: You may require painless nail bracing if you are genetically prone to developing pincer nails, which lead to ingrown toenails.
If conservative treatments have failed, your Chiropodist may recommend:
- Partial removal of the nail: Following local anesthesia, the offending nail edges are carefully and permanently removed so that the issue does not reoccur.
- Total removal of the nail: In severe and extremely painful cases ingrown toenail surgery may be recommended, where the entire nail plate may would permanently be removed so that the issue does not reoccur.
Contact us today to see how we can alleviate foot pain caused by an ingrown toenail.