Do you keep suffering with Ingrown Toenails? Here’s what you should know and how to get rid of them once and for all!
You feel the pain when walking, when driving, in your shoes, out of your shoes – sometimes even just with the pressure of a bed sheet over your feet! Yep, they’re ingrown toenails and yes they can be very painful!
But what are ingrown toenails and how do they occur?
A nail is deemed as ‘ingrown’ when the side of the nails curves or grows down into the side of the nail and pierces the surrounding skin. That’s like having a sharp splinter in your foot that moves and causes pain with movement and pressure to the area! Except that it can be tricky to remove, especially when it’s lodged deep down the side of the nail.
The causes of ingrown toenails can greatly vary but for a lot of people it comes down to an improper nail cutting technique. When nails are cut in a curve instead of a straight line can encourage the growth of the nail edges down into the skin. Often people will also cut their toenails but leave the nail hanging on by a small edge and pick it off, which can leave a small sharp edge at the side of the nail where it was picked that can then grow to pierce the skin. Other causes include genetic predispositions and tight or narrow footwear.
The biggest symptom is pain at the toe, which can range from a moderate discomfort if the nail is just pushing against the skin to a sharp, stabbing pain if the nail has pierced the skin. The pain may worsen on walking or any type of pressure to the nail and surrounding skin. The skin surrounding the nail edges is likely to be red and swollen, and there may be some yellow/white exudate if an infection has developed. Infections occur because once the nail penetrates the skin, the open tissue is left vulnerable to infection and given the area is so close to the ground, infections are not uncommon, though should be treated appropriately and carefully.
So what should you do?
There are multiple ways of addressing ingrown toenails. If you can’t stand the pain and just want it to stop, we can remove the ingrown section of the nail quickly and efficiently. Without any nail piercing the skin, you’ll feel an immediate relief from the pain, and the area it pierced will close up and the swelling and redness will go down over the next 24-48 hours.
If this is an issue you’ve been struggling with for some time now with multiple instances of ingrown toenails, then you may wish to take care of it more permanently. This will involve removing a small portion of the side of the nail that has the tendency to grow downwards and give you grief. Don’t worry – your nail won’t look odd – you’ll just have a very straight nail edge of the side that we treat. What actually happens is that after removing the small section of the nail, we apply a chemical to destroy the nail-growing cells at the problematic edge to stop nail from growing back down that side! We call this a chemical matrixectomy. Again it’s simple, efficient, and performed under local anaesthetic so you don’t feel a thing. We dress your toe afterwards and we’ll need to review it and redress it within a week.
Either way, we’ll let you know all our tips for minimising the risk of ingrowing toenails on any of your other nails and how to best care for your feet and nails!
If you want to know more or chat to us about ingrown toenails, get in touch with us at Footcare Specialist Podiatry on 09 214 9585 or 0211248684. We’ll see you soon!