Ingrowing Toe Nails

Often people say they have an ingrowing toenail when the nail is causing them pain. A true ingrowing toenail is found when a spike or the side of the nail pierces the skin often leading to an infection - redness, pain, swelling and pus.

There are many cause of this problem, the main one being poor nail care. If the nails are cut too short or picked/bitten it is very easy to leave a spike, which will then penetrate the skin.

  • The shape of your nail can be hereditary you often find if you ask either your parents or grand parents have also suffered with the same condition.
  • Tight footwear can often lead to the nail “digging in”, particularly if the nail is already misshapen or thickened.

How to treat an ingrowing toenail

If you go to the doctor with an ingrowing toenail they will often prescribe a course of antibiotics, this will calm down the infection and reduce the pain but within a few days to a week the toe will often flare up again. This happens because the piece of nail piercing the skin must be removed to solve the problem.

Sometimes, depending on severity, this can be done conservatively by being trimmed, this however is often far too painful and so will probably require nail surgery carried out by a Chiropodist/Podiatrist, under local anaesthetic. Therefore, if your toe does not improve on its own you may wish to visit your doctor for a referral or find a Chiropodist/Podiatrist who is qualified to solve the problem.

Continued Care

If the problem does calm down more care must be taken with nail cutting and often filing will be more suitable to reduce the problem occurring again. Also review your shoes to reduce the pressure on the side of the nails.

Wearing tights/ nylons can cause problems; this material does not easily let the skin breath making it sweaty and wet. The skin becomes softer which can encourage the nail to dig in and ingrow.

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