Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the nail, particularly the corners, grow into the skin on the side of the nail. These most commonly occur on your big toe.
During the winter months especially, we wear enclosed shoes to keep our toes and feet warm. These tight shoes rub on the nails and can cause them to thicken and become ingrown.
The main causes of an in-grown toenail are:
- Cutting the nails incorrectly – cutting the nail straight across is the best way to go
- Genetic predispositions such as curved toenails (runs in the family)
- Footwear – tight footwear that places a lot of pressure on the nails
- Trauma – kicking the nail or stubbing your toe
- Certain sports and activities such as ballet and football that cause repetitive impact on your toe
Ingrown toenails are painful and usually get worse over a period of time. They can present as a red, hot, swollen area. Pus and blood can be present as well – this is a sign that there may be some infection present.
The issue with ingrown toenails is that bacteria love our feet and usually our feet are sweaty and dirty. This means that infections can be really common with ingrown toenails.
How to Treat An Ingrown Toenail
One of the best things you can do is soak your feet in warm salty water for 10-15 minutes. This softens the skin and the nail and can provide some relief.
Generally ingrown nail treatment requires podiatry intervention. A podiatrist is trained in removing ingrown nails and has the tools to effectively cut the nail edge to remove any pain that is present. In some cases the podiatrist can perform nail surgery, this is a permanent fix to chronic or recurring ingrown nails and provides permanent relief. This involves removing the edge of the nail that is causing the pain. Your podiatrist will numb your toe so that this procedure is pain free and then the nail will be narrowed. A partial nail surgery is 98% effective. After the surgery the podiatrist will send you home with a bandaged toe and a follow up appointment
If you have an ingrown toenail or know anybody that is suffering from one come in and see us at Boost Health today!