Ingrowing Toenail

Ingrowing toenail

What is an Ingrowing Toenail?
An ingrown toenail is where the edge, or corner, of the toenail grows into the adjacent skin (the skin next to the edge of the nail) and pierces the skin, causing the toe to become red, swollen and tender (inflamed).  Ingrown toenails are common, with the big toe most likely to be affected on one, or sometimes, on both sides. The toenail curves and cuts into the skin, causing the toe to become tender and painful, particularly when you walk on it. If left untreated, the toe can become infected and leak pus.  These can occur in any age but commonly teenagers and young adults present with this problem.
What are the symptoms of an Ingrowing Toenail?
An early symptom of an ingrown toenail is hard, swollen and tender skin surrounding the nail. Later, the skin around the nail may appear red, inflamed, painful and there may be signs of pus or bleeding if infection is present.
What are the causes of an Ingrowing Toenail?
There are a number of causes for ingrowing toenails, these include; narrow fitting footwear, a poor nail cutting technique and a nail with naturally curved edges, rather than a flat nail.
What should I do if I have an Ingrowing Toenail?
Immediate treatment with a podiatrist should be sought to remove the piece of nail that is pressing into the skin.  If it is not acted upon quickly, the problem worsens as the nail grows in deeper and becomes more painful.
What shouldn’t I do if I have an Ingrowing Toenail?
Ignoring the problem should be avoided as it often worsens in time.  Wearing wide fitting shoes to keep pressure off the toes is advisable, high heeled, narrow shoes should be avoided.
Could there be any long – term effects of an Ingrowing Toenail?
The problem frequently reoccurs, if conservative treatment by a podiatrist is not providing adequate relief, nail surgery may be required, where a podiatrist removes part or all of the nail under local anaesthetic.  This provides a long term solution to the problem and avoids the chance of frequent flare-ups and associated infections.
Podiatry treatment for Ingrowing Toenails
A podiatrist will carefully cut back the offending piece of nail.  Advice regarding suitable footwear, nail cutting and cleanliness will be provided by the podiatrist to help prevent the problem from recurring.  If the nail regularly becomes a problem then removal of part of the nail under local anaesthetic may be required (nail surgery).

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