Ingrown Toenails

Improperly trimmed toenails, nail trauma and wearing tight footwear are some of the common causes of ingrown toenails. It is essential to address ingrown toenails promptly to prevent complications and promote healing.

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An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, a common condition often resulting from improperly cutting toenails around the corners. While an ingrown toenail commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur on any of the other toes.

Causes of ingrown nails include:

  • Improper nail trimming which may leave a spike or cause the edges of the nail to curl inwards
  • Tight footwear which will exert pressure on the nail plate, causing the nails to grow abnormally and may penetrate the skin
  • Nail trauma such as injuries due to stubbing or dropping objects on it, can disrupt the normal nail growth pattern
  • Family history

The typical symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

  • Pain and soreness: The affected area becomes inflamed and red, causing discomfort and pain
  • Pus discharge: In severe cases, infection can develop, leading to pus discharge from the affected area.
  • Difficulty walking: Pain can significantly impede gait and interfere with normal daily activities.

If an ingrown nail is left unaddressed, it can lead to infection. While antibiotics can help combat the infection, the issue is likely to recur if the problematic section of the nail is not removed. Attempting home remedies or amateur surgery at this stage is not advisable, as it may worsen the condition.

Individuals with visual impairments, mobility challenges, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, circulatory disorders, children or teenagers should refrain from self-remedies. Instead, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial, especially for these individuals, as ingrown toenails in such cases may necessitate specialised case.

How can ingrown toenails be managed?

Podiatrists, specialising in foot and lower limb care, are well-equipped to manage ingrown toenails through various interventions. Part of the procedure includes the removal of the ingrown portion of the nail to ensure pain-free regrowth. Following the removal, a dressing is applied to prevent further infection.

The advantages of ingrown toenail surgery include:

  • Swift recovery
  • No stitches required
  • Low chance of reoccurrence
  • Aesthetically pleasing results

In cases where underlying deformities, such as incurvated or thick toenails, contribute to chronic pain and recurring infections, complete removal of the nail bed and nail plate may be necessary. Consultation with a podiatrist can determine the suitability of such a procedure for individual cases.

How can ingrown toenails be prevented?

There are several preventative measures that can help reduce the risk of developing ingrown toenails:

  • Practice proper nail trimming: The best practice is to cut toenails straight across, leaving a small white border above the toe bed.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes: Choose shoes that provide ample space for the toes and avoid footwear that is too tight or narrow.
  • Maintain good foot hygiene: Wash and dry your feet regularly, paying particular attention to the space between the toes.
  • Seek professional guidance: If you are prone to ingrown toenails or have recurrent incidences, consult a podiatrist for personalised advice and preventive measures.

Ingrown toenails can be effectively managed with proper understanding, preventative measures, and timely intervention. If you experience any symptoms of an ingrown toenail, do not hesitate to consult a healthcare professional or a podiatrist for appropriate diagnosis and care.

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Ms Ari has been great managing my ingrown toenail from the procedure to the aftercare. She is very friendly and pays attention to my worries and gives great advice on how to take care of my feet. Really recommend her services!


Our Podiatry Care Strategy

Safe & Effective Ingrown Toenail Management

Our podiatrists are equipped to manage ingrown toenails using different interventions. These include conservative management and surgical removal. Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, an appropriate treatment plan can be tailored to an individual’s specific needs. Removing or managing ingrown toenails will be determined by how severe the condition is, the presence of infection, and the individual’s response to conservative measures.

Conservative Management

Oral Medications

Surgical Intervention

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Georgina Tay
Senior Podiatrist & Head of Department

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