What is an Ingrown Toenail?
An in growing toenail occurs when the nail is curved downward and grows into the skin at the sides of the nail. This “digging in” of the nail irritates the skin often causing pain. If an ingrown nail breaks the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which often causes pain, redness, swelling, warmth and discharge.
In many people inherit the tendency to have curved nails that often cause this condition. Other people acquire an ingrown toenail as the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, wearing shoes that are tight or kicking a ball. Cutting your nails too short or picking at them can also encourage the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail.
A simple procedure called a nail wedge resection is performed by your podiatrist under local anaesthetic. The offending piece of nail is painlessly removed.
The nail root is then destroyed so that the side of nail that has been causing the pain will not grow back.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
- Regular Podiatry - Your podiatrist has the tools and techniques to remove problematic nails before they become infected.
- Avoid poorly-fitting shoes - Don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box. Also avoid shoes that are loose, because they too pressure on the toes, especially when you run or walk briskly.
- Don’t cut a “V” in your nail - Cutting a “V” does not affect the growth of the toenail. New nail growth will continue to curve downward.