What is an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are a very common condition that occurs when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. Although ingrown toenails can affect any of our toes, it most often affects the big toe. It can be very painful and without treatment, an infection can set in very quickly.
Fortunately, a Podiatrist can treat your ingrown toenail easily! The Podiatrist can also give you valuable advice that could prevent future problems with nail growth.
What causes a toenail to become ingrown?
There are a variety of things that can cause an ingrown toenail to develop. These include:
- Picking your toenails instead of cutting them.
- Cutting your toenails incorrectly.
- Having irregular, curved toenails.
- Footwear that increases pressure on the big toes, such as shoes that are too tight or narrowed at the front.
- Injury/ Trauma to your toenail (often kicking it off something).
- Neglecting your toenails.
People who perform high impact activities are more likely to suffer from ingrown toenails. These include those who participate in football, kickboxing, gymnastics or ballet.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
Can you identify with any of the following symptoms? If your answer is yes, you could have an ingrown toenail!
- The skin around the toe becomes red, swollen and tender to the touch.
- The area may feel warm or hot, and the skin may appear shiny.
- Fluid or pus can build up under or around the toe.
- A bloody residue may form around the area.
- Sharp pain that intensifies when you put pressure on the area.
- Pain that doesn’t ease with medication.
La Preme Clinic can help with your ingrown toenail treatment!
You can reduce the discomfort of ingrown toenails at home, but the best way to treat it fully is to visit a podiatrist.
Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection caused by the ingrown toenail. However, there is little point in treating the infection if the nail remains embedded in the skin as further infections are likely to occur. Antibiotics may prove useful to treat and clear the infection once the nail has been removed.
Our skilled and experienced podiatrists can easily remove the ingrown nail from the surrounding skin and prescribe antibiotics if required. In many cases, this can be done completely painlessly, although some patients prefer to have a general anaesthetic to ensure that they don’t experience any discomfort.
Toenail Removal Surgery
There are some cases where surgical treatment is required. This is done using local anaesthetic and involves the removal of a partial section or all of the toenail. Your Podiatrist will remove as little nail as possible to ensure your nails look healthy and that no one would notice. On occasion, a total nail avulsion may be required but we try to avoid this if possible.
Nail surgery is usually only recommended where patients have suffered from multiple ingrown toenails and your podiatrist thinks it would be best to prevent the nail from regrowing. They can do this by using a chemical to destroy the cells found at the base of the nail preventing new nail growth*. You would need to keep your foot elevated and rested for the rest of the day then you can go back to work or school the next day. You’ll also be given specific aftercare instructions to follow that will ensure that your toe heals as quickly as possible. We would provide your dressings and arrange check appointments till the area is healed.
If you would like further advice about ingrown toenails or toenail surgery, please contact our Glasgow podiatry clinic on 0141 332 0044 or book an appointment online.
*Please note, the chemical used to prevent nail regrowth, is recommended but is optional. Your Podiatrist would discuss this with you at your consultation.