Onychocryptosis, also referred to as an ingrown toenail, is a condition in which the sides of a nail grow into the flesh. This causes pain to the damaged skin and leaves open flesh for bacteria to enter through, sometimes leading to infection. The big toe is usually most susceptible to ingrowns and can cause extreme discomfort. Ingrown toenails can occur in every population.
- Involuted/curved nails can cause digging into the skin. Genetics sometimes have a part to play in this.
- Poor cutting technique or picking at your nail can cause jagged edges irritating the skin.
- Tight/ill-fitted footwear, such as narrow shoes or high heels may cause trauma to the nail, leading it to grow abnormally.
- Direct trauma to the nail, such as stubbing your toe or dropping something on it may also cause ingrowns.
- High levels of physical activities in sports that cause trauma to the nail, such as AFL, soccer, netball, or running.
How Do I Fix My Ingrown Toenails?
At TFC Podiatry our podiatrists are able to implement a management plan that best tailors to your needs. If the toenail is causing minimal pain and irritation, a conservative trimming may be adequate enough to suffice.
In the more painful, persistent ingrown toenails a minor nail surgery may be necessary. This involves the use of local anaesthetic to numb the area, resection of the nail plate and the use of a chemical called phenol that reduces the likelihood of regrowth of the nail spike to 5-8%. This surgery requires 1-2 weeks of rest and wearing open-toed shoes to ensure adequate healing.
In some cases where the ingrown nail has caused infection, a trip to the doctors is required to get some antibiotics.
How Can I Prevent Ingrown Toenails At Home?
- Ensure that when cutting your nails you cut straight across the nail, avoiding cutting down the sides or creating jagged points in the nail.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting footwear that squeeze the forefoot together for prolonged periods of time. This may be hard for some certain sports, such as football where boots tend to be a little tighter. This is why it is important to get properly fitting when purchasing footwear.
- Avoid picking your nails, as nail spikes often cause ingrown nails to form.
- Don’t trim your nails too short, as this may increase the likelihood of developing ingrowns.
- If there is slight discomfort, soaking your feet in warm water mixed with salt can help reduce pain/digging at the nail sulci.
- Ensure that you purchase the right sized shoes to avoid any excess pressure.
- If you begin to feel symptoms of an ingrown toenail, get it checked out as soon as possible in order to avoid any further aggravation and possibly avoiding surgery.
If you or someone you know suffers from persistent ingrown toenails feel free to book in with one of our experienced podiatrists by calling 8375 2062 (Point Cook) or 9191 0117 (Yarraville) or book online at tfcpodiatry.com.au