Onychocryptosis, also referred to as an ingrown toenail, is a condition in which the sides of a nail grow into the flesh, causing pain to the damaged skin and leaving open flesh for bacteria to enter through, sometimes leading to infection. The big toe is usually most susceptible to ingrown toenail troubles and can cause extreme pain and discomfort. Ingrown toenails can affect people of all ages.
Causes Of Ingrown Toenails
- Involuted/curved nails can cause digging into the skin. Genetics sometimes has 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 anesthetic to numb the area, resection of the nail plate and the use of a chemical called phenol that reduces the likelihood of regrowth 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 the infection, a trip to the doctors may be 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.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting footwear that squeezes the forefoot together for prolonged periods of time.
- Avoid picking your nails.
- 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 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 using the button below