Ingrown toenails

What can cause ingrowing toenails? 

By Sam Moore, Podiatrist at Body Consultancy

Ingrowing toenails can occur at any of the nails, but most commonly occur in the big toes, and are often the result of: 

  • Cutting nails too short or incorrectly. 
  • Wide fan-shaped toenails or alternatively pincer-shaped nails, that curl around and pinch the skin between either side. 
  • Wearing incorrectly fitting shoes that squeeze the toes together too much. 
  • Traumatic injury to the toenail, which can result in the nail thickening or growing incorrectly 
  • Fungal nail infections can also cause nails to thicken up and grow incorrectly. 
  • Excessively sweaty feet will make the soft tissue around the nails softer, and so easier for nails to penetrate. 


What to do if you have an ingrowing toenail. 

If the nail has started to become ingrown, a Podiatrists can cut back the nail and remove the ingrowing section of the nail, which will reduce the pressure from the nail on the surrounding soft tissue and make the toe a lot more comfortable. 

In toes where the area around the ingrowing toenail has become infected, the foot should be soaked 2 or 3 times daily, in cooled down salty water. Depending on the extent of infection, it may also be necessary to have a course of antibiotics. If there is discharge from the infected area, the toe should be dressed with a clean dry dressing and redressed daily until the infection has cleared. 


Nail Surgery. 

For ingrowing toenails where infection keeps reoccurring or which are painful, a Podiatrist can perform a small surgical procedure to resolve the problem permanently.  

A small amount of local anesthetic is injected into the base of the toe, and then the section of the nail that is ingrown is removed. The nail bed is then treated with a chemical, that will prevent this section of the nail from regrowing.  


Preventing Ingrowing Toenails. 

To try and reduce the occurrence of ingrowing toenails, there are some simple steps to follow: 

  • Cut nails across following the curve of the nail. 
  • Avoid cutting nails too short or digging down the sides. 
  • Ensure shoes and socks are not too tight. 
  • Wear cotton socks or socks made of moisture-wicking material, to reduce the level of moisture between toes from excessive sweating. 

When to consult a Podiatrist. 

If your ingrowing toenails are causing discomfort or becoming infected, or you have medical conditions such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or are immunocompromised, and you need advice or treatment, you should consult a Podiatrist. Why not call us today on 01425 473093 to book an appointment with Sam our podiatrist who can help you with your ingrown toenail. 

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