If you are suffering the pain and discomfort of an ingrown toenail, I highly recommend visiting your local podiatry clinic for help.
I’ve found most people turn to the internet, their local chemist or GP, simply because they don’t realise a podiatrist can help!
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Known medically as onychocryptosis, some people are unfortunately born with a tendency to suffer from ingrown toenails. They may naturally have toenails with high curves, or fan shaped nails (narrow at the base and get wider as they grow out), both of which are more likely to lead to problems.
However there are a number of other possible causes:
- Ill Fitting Footwear – An ingrown toenail may develop if the shoe is not long enough. When we are walking or running, our foot naturally expands to fit the shoe. The secret to getting the best fit for new shoes, is to use the measuring device (known as a Brannock) to ascertain the length of your feet – and then add a complete size. This allows for foot expansion so the toenails are not constantly hitting the toe box, which can cause bruising and damage such as an ingrown toenail.
- Trauma – A blow or kick to the foot, for example when playing football or practising martial arts, can damage the toenail area. Or if you’ve ever dropped something on your toenail, you will know it goes black and blue and may even fall off eventually. When the new toenail grows in, it is usually more curved so the edges become sore and ingrown.
- Infection – Fungal nail infections can be nasty, causing the nail to thicken, change shape and look unsightly. Even once the fungus has been treated and eliminated, the sufferer will often find that their nail/s are more likely to become ingrown.
- Growing Older and certain Health Conditions – Blood flow to the extremeties (like our toes) tends to decrease as we age, or as a result of certain health conditions such as diabetes. This can change the shape of our nails and thus increase the chance of problems.
- Medications – Young people taking a certain medication for acne, may experience a side effect of ingrown toenails.
See your Podiatrist about Ingrown Toenail
When you see a podiatrist about your ingrown toenail, the first step will be to identify how it developed. Was it a one-off event, such as a kick, bump, or other trauma – or is it an ongoing problem?
Initial treatment aims to reduce the pain and inflammation, and prevent infection.
While this is usually all that is needed, in some cases the ingrown toenail has contributed to a permanent deformity of the nail bed, and requires further treatment.
The good news is that in most cases there is no need to see a specialist for surgery. Instead, we offer a partial nail avulsion (PNA) – a minor procedure which can be performed under a local anaesthetic, right here in our podiatry clinic. On the rare occasion when specialist treatment is required, we can refer you on to the appropriate medical professional.
Got a tender toenail? Call our Redlands podiatry clinic on (07) 3207 4736 or make a booking online today.