An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the side or corner of a toenail grows into the skin surrounding it. This condition most often affects the big toe. Patients can sometimestake care of an ingrown toenail on their own; however, there are situations in which you should seek the care of a podiatrist for an ingrown toenail. These situations include severe or spreading pain, infections, diabetes or other conditions that cause reduced blood flow to the feet.
The symptoms of an ingrown toenail include pain and tenderness along one or both sides of the toenail. You may also notice redness or swelling around the nail. Occasionally, infection of the skin around the toenail may occur. If you experience severe pain, redness, swelling, or if you have diabetes, you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Ingrown toenails are typically caused by cutting toenails too short or neglecting to cut them straight across, picking, wearing tight shoes that crowd the toes, having toenails that are unusually curved, poor foot hygiene, or sustaining an injury to the toenail area.
When left undiagnosed or untreated, an ingrown toenail can cause serious complications. The most severe difficulty is an infection of the underlying bone. Individuals with diabetes, who can experience poor blood flow to the feet, are more susceptible to complications. In these cases, minor foot injuries may not heal properly and, if left untreated, may lead to conditions that may be difficult to treat such as cellulitis and foot ulcers. It is therefore recommended that you visit a podiatrist for ingrown toenail treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.
There are some things you can do to minimise your chances of developing an ingrown toenail to avoid needing treatment. First of all, be sure to trim your toenails straight across – not in a curve. If you have diabetes, see a podiatrist for regular nail management. Keep your toenails at a moderate length, even with the tips of your toes, rather than cutting them too short. Also, make sure that your shoes fit correctly and do not place too much pressure on your toes. Finally, inspect your feet daily – especially if you have diabetes – for signs of an ingrown toenail or any other issues.
Ingrown toenail treatment at Taylors Lakes Podiatry Clinic
Many ingrown toenails can be treated at home using methods such as soaking the feet in salty water, applying antiseptic solutions such a iodine, changing your footwear and avoiding tight footwear, and using breathable socks and hosiery. If home remedies haven’t been effective, you should see a podiatrist for treatment. There are several options for treating an ingrown toenail including lifting the nail and placing cotton or foam under it to separate it from the skin as it grows. In other cases, partial or complete removal of the nail under local anaesthetic may be necessary. You may also need to take oral antibiotics if an infection is present or appears likely. If you have any symptoms of an ingrown toenail that seem to be persisting or worsening, or if you have diabetes, contact Taylors Lakes Podiatry Clinic for an evaluation and a personalised ingrown toenail treatment plan.