An ingrown toenail is a painful condition for the toe. It occurs when a sharp corner or edge of the toenail digs into the skin at the end of or side of the toe. Pain and inflammation at the spot where the nail curls into the skin occurs first initially presenting as a minor discomfort, it may progress into an infection in the adjacent skin and/or become a reoccurring problem. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
Several things can cause an ingrown toenail to develop, including:
- badly cut toenails – cutting your toenails too short, or cutting the edges, will encourage the skin to fold over your nail and the nail to grow into the skin
- wearing tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights – this places pressure on the skin around your toenail; the skin may be pierced if it’s pressed on to your toenail
- sweaty feet – if the skin around your toenails is soft, it’s easier for your nail to pierce it and embed itself within it
- injury – for example, stubbing your toe can sometimes cause an ingrown toenail to develop
- natural shape of the nail – the sides of curved or fan-shaped toenails are more likely to press into the skin surrounding the nail
The treatment of an ingrown toenail partly depends on how severe it is. Ingrown toenails are best treated early before they progress to a chronic stage. Treatment may be as simple as providing advice on correct nail cutting and what footwear to avoid. However, a surgical procedure is often required to remove the offending part of the nail embedded in your toe. Our doctors and nurses are able to do this procedure in our well appointed treatment room. This is typically an in-office procedure requiring local anesthesia where the edge of the affected part of the nail is simply removed
How to Care for Your Ingrown Toenails
We maintain that to keep your toenails healthy and comfortable, following some simple tips is always good. One of the most important tips is to cut your toenails straight across. This is to avoid cutting them too short or at the corners. Not only does this promote normal toenail growth but also prevents them from digging into your skin.
Additionally, you should also clean nail clippers or scissors to avoid bacteria or fungus in your toenails.
Good foot hygiene is also crucial, including regular washing of your feet and prompt treatment of any fungal infections. We suggest you wear well-fitting shoes that are appropriate for your activity since shoes too tight or too loose can put pressure on your toenails, causing them to grow inward.
Finally, try not to pick at or fix ingrown toenails yourself. This’ll worsen the condition and increase the risk of infection.
When to Visit a Doctor for Ingrown Toenail Removal?
If you’ve attempted home remedies for your ingrown toenail without success or have observed signs of infection like redness, swelling, or pus, it’s important to seek treatment for ingrown toenail removal at Parkhill Medical Center from your GP immediately.
If you’ve got a fever or diabetes, something that impacts foot health and healing, we recommend seeing your GP.
Your GP can evaluate the severity of your ingrown toenail and suggest the best course of action, like prescribing antibiotics, referring you to a podiatrist, or performing a minor surgery to remove part of the nail.