Ingrown Toenails

A Podiatrist fixing a painful ingrown toenail

Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable. At Momentum Podiatry, our experienced team is dedicated to providing the highest-quality care to alleviate your distress and get you back on your feet.

A Podiatrist managing a painful ingrown toenail

Frequently Asked Questions

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to a series of escalating complications. Initially, the nail digging into the skin causes pain at the corner of the nail plate, accompanied by inflammation and swelling. The inflammation creates an environment conducive to infection, allowing bacteria to enter the open wound. This can result in the toe leaking blood, pus or both from the corner of the nail. Without proper care, a type of tissue called granulation tissue begins to grow, covering the infected area and worsening the infection. 

As the infection progresses, it can become more severe, and if left unchecked, it may spread. An untreated ingrown toenail can lead to a bacterial infection, causing significant pain and requiring antibiotics.

Prompt and appropriate treatment for ingrown toenails is essential to prevent these complications and ensure the overall health of the affected foot. If you think you might have an ingrown toenail, don’t hesitate; give our friendly team a call and book an appointment with one of our podiatrists.

While you might have come across the suggestions of how to treat an ingrown nail off the nail bed, it’s important to note that a DIY approach can be uncomfortably painful and may even pose a risk of infection. 

Always consult a podiatrist before embarking on any treatment course. While there are things you can do at home, only ever follow the advice of a podiatrist who has had a chance to inspect your ingrown toenail and knows your situation. 

Yes, the wrong type of shoe can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails. Shoes that are too tight or narrow puts pressure on the toes, compressing them and potentially causing the toenails to grow into the surrounding skin. Additionally, shoes with a narrow toe box can squeeze the toes together, increasing the likelihood of ingrown toenails. 

It’s important to wear properly fitting shoes that allow enough space for your toes and don’t compress them, reducing the risk of ingrown toenails and promoting overall foot health.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a common and often painful condition in which the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the skin. It can lead to pain, redness, swelling and potential infection. It usually occurs in the big toe but can it affect any toe. It’s often caused by things like not cutting your nails properly, wearing tight shoes, nail injuries or inherited nail shape. 

Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent infection and complications. Treatment options range from things you can do yourself to more advanced interventions, such as blade reduction, nail braces or nail surgery. If you think you have an ingrown toenail, make sure to give us a call; we’ll advise you on the best treatment for your situation. 

How we treat ingrown toenails

There are several treatment options for an ingrown toenail, such as blade reduction and applying a nail brace, which involves taking pressure off the afflicted toe by changing the way the nail grows. We also provide advice on things that you can do at home, both in terms of treatment and prevention.

If your ingrown toenail proves to be an ongoing issue, we’ll explore the option of a complete nail avulsion (toenail surgery), which we perform at our clinic. This treatment can be done within a one-hour appointment with the use of local anaesthetic.

When you come in for your appointment, we’ll discuss with you the best treatment for your situation.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail can be caused by a range of factors, such as:

  • Leaving a nail spike: Cutting your toenails too short or not cutting them straight across can encourage the nail to grow into the skin or leave a nail spike within the corner.
  • Curved/irregularly shaped nails or wide plates: Naturally curved or unusually shaped toenails can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Tight-Fitting Shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight can exert pressure on the toenails, pushing them into the surrounding skin.
  • Injury or Trauma: Stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it can damage the nail and lead to it growing into the skin.
  • Genetics: Sometimes, the shape and structure of your toenails are inherited, which can predispose you to ingrown toenails.
  • Abnormal Nail Growth: Certain medical conditions, such as fungal infections, can cause thickening of the toenail, making it more likely to become ingrown.
  • Excessive Sweating: Sweaty feet can soften the skin, making it easier for the nail to penetrate and embed itself in the flesh.

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