What is an ingrown toenail and what causes them?
An ingrown toenail (or onychocryptosis) is a common and painful condition that occurs when the edge or corner of a toenail grows into the skin surrounding the nail. This condition typically affects the big toe, but it can occur on any toe. Ingrown nails can cause pain, swelling, redness, and in some cases, infection. If left untreated, they can become more severe and may require medical intervention.
Why see a Podiatrist?
Education and training. Podiatrists are health professionals who undergo extensive education and training specific to foot and ankle conditions. They complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework and clinical training relevant to various foot and ankle conditions, including ingrown toenails.
Specialisation. Podiatrists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions, making them experts in the field. They focus exclusively on the lower extremities and the anatomy, biomechanics and diseases that affect the feet and toenails.
Experience is everything.
Clinical experience. During training, and throughout their careers, our Podiatrists at Stepping Out Podiatry, have gained extensive hands-on clinical experience, helping them develop a deep understanding of a wide variety of conditions that of the foot and ankle, including ingrown nails, and how to affectively treat them.
At our clinic, our Podiatrists have access to specific equipment designed to remove ingrown nails, which make treatment lot less painful then your big at home clippers or kitchen scissors!
Surgical skills. In cases where conservative treatment for ingrown toenails does not work, our Podiatrists have the expertise to perform procedures, like total or partial nail avulsion. These procedures are necessary to permanently remove the nail to prevent recurring ingrown toenails. Their expertise is these procedures ensures that you experience minimal discomfort and a long-lasting result.
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Knowing what to do next.
Preventative care. Our Podiatrists not only treat ingrown toenails, but also provide guidance on preventative measures to help patients avoid future occurrences. They can offer advice on proper nail trimming, footwear selection and other strategies to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails.
Infection management. Ingrown toenails can lead to infections if not managed properly. Podiatrists are skilled at diagnosing and treating infections, ensuring that the patients overall health is not compromised. Simple salt baths and betadine ointment may prevent infections, however you may need to head to your GP for antibiotic treatment to calm an infection down if it is really bad. Our Podiatrists will advise you on the first steps to take as not all ingrown nails need antibiotics.
7 tips on preventing ingrown nails.
Preventing ingrown toenails involves taking some simple steps and practicing good foot care habits. Here are some tips to help you avoid ingrown toenails:
- Proper nail trimming: Avoid cutting your toenails too short, as this can encourage the nail to grow into the skin. Use sharp, clean nail clippers or scissors, and avoid tearing or ripping the nails.
- Don’t cut the corners: Never cut down the corners of your toenails. This can create sharp edges that are more likely to penetrate the skin as the nail grows.
- Maintain the right length: Keep your toenails at a moderate length, so they don’t extend past the edge of your toe. Nails that are too long are more prone to becoming ingrown, and can easily catch on socks or shoes, which can lead to nail trauma.
4. Choose proper footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and provide ample room for your toes. Tight shoes can put pressure on the toenails, increasing the risk of an ingrown nail. The more narrow the front of your shoe, the more likely an ingrown nail is to occur, as they can squeeze the toes together.
5. Maintain good foot hygiene: Keep your feet clean and dry. Moisture can soften the skin around the toenails, making it easier for the nail to cut into the skin. Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or swimming, and change into clean, dry socks. Changing your socks is very important, especially when exercising, to maintain healthy feet.
6. Avoid trauma: Be cautious when trimming or filing your toenails. Avoid injuring the skin or causing any trauma around the nail area. Remember, the wrong shoe can be traumatic for your feet as well!
7. Seek Professional Help: If you notice any signs of an ingrown toenail, such as redness, swelling, pain, or signs of infection, phone our clinic as we are always happy to talk to you. Early treatment may prevent the condition from worsening.