East Coast Podiatry
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Last Updated: 14 Oct 2021

Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown nails occur when the edges of a nail become embedded under the surrounding skin, causing pain and in many cases, infection. Ingrown nails can happen in individuals of all genders and age groups, and while ingrown fingernails can occur, the big toes are the most susceptible to this condition.

Signs and symptoms of ingrown nails include:

  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Excessive swelling
  • Pain
  • Infection
Ingrown Toenail on Toe

Causes of ingrown nails include:

  • Improperly trimmed nails leaving a spike at the corner
  • Crowding of toes due to tight footwear
  • Trauma to the feet

Infection may set in if the ingrown nail is left untreated or given improper treatment. The consumption of antibiotics may treat the infection, but the problem is likely to recur if the offending portion of the nail is not removed. At this point, home remedies or amateur surgery should not be attempted as they may exacerbate the situation.

People with eyesight problems, mobility issues, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other circulatory disorders, and children/teenagers should avoid any form of self-treatment as well. Seek immediate medical attention as ingrown nails in such individuals may result in the need for complicated surgery or amputation.

What Can a Podiatrist Do For Me?

Podiatrists are lower limb specialists qualified to perform various treatments for nail conditions like ingrown toenails. Treatment for this condition will include removal of the spike and proper trimming of the nail to ensure proper pain-free regrowth before a suitable dressing is applied to treat the infection.

The benefits of ingrown toenail surgery include:

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

Underlying deformities like incurvated or thick toenails can lead to chronic pain and recurring infections and may require complete removal of the nail bed and nail plate. Please consult with your podiatrist to find out if you are suitable for this procedure.

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