Ingrown toenails occur when part of the nail penetrates the skin, which can often result in an infection. The ingrown nail can also apply pressure in the nail sulci (where your toenail meets the skin) without penetrating the skin and while this isn’t an ingrown nail as such, it can be painful and often results in the formation of a corn or callus in the nail sulci.
Main contributing factors
- The shape of the nail – nails which are curved into a U shape (rather than flat)
- Poor cutting- cutting too far down the sides or leaving the nail too short
- Poor fitted footwear- incorrect or tight footwear will increase pressure on the skin adjoining the nails.
- Previous or current trauma- injury to a toenail may cause it to deform in the shape and thickness it grows in.
- Feet that swell or are “fleshy” or “chubby” increase the chances of an ingrown nail.
Treatment for Ingrown Toenails
- Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for treatment of the infected ingrown toenail, however while the nail edge remains the symptoms will reoccur.
- Advance Foot Clinic Podiatrists can easily remove the corner or spike that has penetrated the skin, a procedure that generally causes little discomfort. If the ingrown nail is too painful or is too deep, a local anesthetic will be used in conjunction with a minor surgical procedure which is performed at our offices. Until the problematic wedge of nail that is causing the ingrown toenail is removed, infection will reoccur.
- Recurring ingrown nails may need to have the edge permanently removed with a minor surgical procedure. Advance Foot Clinic uses a phenol based chemical during surgery which sterilizes the nail bed to minimize the likelihood of a recurrence.
What can you do?
- Cut your nails straight (not down the edges) and don’t cut too short.
- Follow any instructions given by your Advance Foot Clinic podiatrist.
- Footwear assessment – you may be wearing the wrong shoes