Understanding Ingrown Toenails

We have been seeing a lot of ingrown toenail problems in our clinic lately so here is an article on understanding ingrown toenails. Let’s begin with what is an ingrown toenail? Ingrown toenail is the result of a nail growing into the skin that surrounds it. This often occurs at either edge of the big toe. Ingrown nails may be caused by improper trimming, inherited nail deformities, injuries, fungal infections or pressure.

Some readers might wonder if they have ingrown toenail? Well…simple but not that simple…in most cases, ingrown toenail may cause pain at the tip of the toe or all the way to the base of the toe. The pain is often worse while walking. An ingrown nail may also lead to infection, swelling, or more serious conditions. If it’s inflected, you might see pus or redness. If you experience the above symptoms but is unsure if you have ingrown nails, no problem! Book an appointment to see your local chiropodist for an assessment.

Now say unfortunately you do have ingrown nails, no need to panic, ingrown nails are more common than you think.  What are the treatment options available?

If the nail isn’t infected, your chiropodist (foot specialist) may trim the corner of the nail or remove the spicule to help relieve your symptoms. He or she may need to remove one side of your nail all the way back to the cuticle. The base of the nail may then be treated with a chemical to keep the ingrown part from grown back.

For severe infections as a result of an ingrown toenail, antibiotic and temporary or permanent removal of a portion of the nail may be required. To prevent pain, a local anesthetic is used in these procedures.

For those of you who have not experienced ingrown nails and would like some prevention tips:

Tip #1 – the right shoes: Get your feet measured. Wear shoes that are supportive and roomy enough for your toes to wiggle. Look for shoes made of natural materials such as leather, which allow your feet to breathe. For more details on finding the right shoes, refer to our last article on proper fitted shoes.

Tip #2 – proper trimming: to avoid problems, trim your toenails straight across without cutting down into the corners. If your cant trim your own nails, ask your chiropodist to do so for you.

Just remember, many nail problems can be prevented by wearing the right shoes and trimming your nails properly. To help avoid infection, keep your feet clean and dry. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor before doing foot self-care.

If you or your friends have ingrown nail problems, please feel free to contact us for an appointment. We are located at unit 207-1550 S. Gateway Road, Mississauga and clinic phone number is 905-625-1555. Like us on Facebook.