As we grow from adolescents to teenagers and then onto adulthood one of the most common conditions I see in my clinic is the dreaded ingrown toenail! These can of course happen at any age - it is always SO important to look after your toes properly.
What are ingrown toenails?
An ingrown toenail occurs when a spike or sliver of nail presses into the skin along the side of the nail causing pain, redness, swelling and sometimes infection.
What causes ingrown toenails?
There can be many factors which can cause an ingrown toenail, such as -
- natural shape of the nail
- incorrect nail cutting technique
What can be done to avoid them?
- always ensure you cut your nails straight across - NEVER cut down the sides
- avoid ill-fitting tight shoes as these can rub and cause the nail to press into the side of the toe
- be careful when playing sports, ensure footwear fits correctly
How can they be treated?
Never attempt to remove the spike of nail yourself – it can lead to a small piece of nail being left in there and make matters worse. Without sterile instruments you also risk introducing infection.
Always book in with your podiatrist if you suspect an ingrown toenail.
Treatment options include conservatively reshaping the nail of if this fails or nail surgery under local anaesthetic. Sometimes antibiotics may be needed afterwards also.
If you cannot get an immediate appointment soak the nail for 8-10 minutes in a salt water daily and ensure it is covered with a plaster.
Any questions, please get in touch!