Ingrown toenails can be persistent, painful and unsightly. Contrary to popular belief they can't always 'grow out, and antibiotics alone can't fix them!
Who gets ingrown toenails?
Painful 'ingrown' nails can happen at any age! And in any toenail!
The persons age, medical history and health status are a deciding factor in the treatment that is most suitable for them.
What is an ingrown toenail?
The first signs of an ingrown nail are often discomfort and mild inflammation around the edge of the nail. You might initially feel the discomfort during sport, if wearing a pair of shoes or socks that put a little pressure on the are. As things escalate, discomfort may be felt when the duvet rests on the foot or at all times.
An ingrown nail is usually when a spike/shard of nail pierces the skin and continues to grow in to the skin. This causes pain and infection.
As the ingrown nail worsens, the area can become infected. This may often result in the affected area becoming extremely swollen, red/purple and painful with light touch. There is often also pus or bleeding in the area.
How to treat an ingrown nail
If you suspect an ingrown nail, the first thing to do is ensure the area is clean and reduce risk of infection. This can be done by bathing the affected to in salt water solution. Or applying a gentle skin disinfectant spray.
DO NOT attempt to cut down the side of the nail yourself (this often results in infections and the affected spike it usually missed!). Do not attempt to 'pick' or probe the area as this often worsens things.
How can our Podiatry team help?
Our Podiatrists are able to treat a painful ingrown nail in several ways.
Often, an ingrown nail may be a 'one off' due to poor nail cutting technique. This usually means the offending nail spike can be easily removed in your initial consultation with no need for local anaesthetics. This can be an immediate pain relief, and allows any infection/inflammation to be treated accordingly.
Sometimes, the way the nail is growing (or depending on how long the ingrown nail has been present), longer term management is required.
Some nails 'curve' too much, and no matter how many times a 'nail spike' is cut away, it will continue to be ingrown.
Luckily, our podiatrists are experts in this field, and can usually let you know early on whether this is going to be a recurring issue for you.
For those that the nail will continue to 'grow in', we are able to provide a simple surgical procedure, which will permanently remove the affected portion of the nail.
What is nail surgery?
This is a simple procedure with local anaesthetics so that you don't feel any pain during the procedure. (Nothing like some of the youtube video's out there!).
There are a few version of the procedure dependant on the type of ingrown nail you have. Your podiatrist will discuss this with you prior to the procedure appointment to make sure you are happy with the outcome.
What to book.
If you or a family member are suffering from an ingrown toenail, we recommend booking an Initial Podiatry Consultation.
This will allow us to take a full medical history, treat the affected toe and discuss long term management.
Please note, the surgical procedure will not be performed at your first appointment. All potential surgical procedure candidates must have had an Initial Consultation to assess their suitability (not everyone can have it), need for the surgical procedure and to carry out a suitable 'pre op'. The podiatrist will also explain the procedure in depth to you, to help you make an informed decision about the procedure.