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Ingrown Toenails - The Common Causes and How to Fix Them

At Podiatry & Wellness Clinic, ingrown toenails are one of the most common, and potentially painful, foot issues we see. Ingrown toenails typically affect the big toe, and occur when the nail grows around the side of the toe. They can cause pain, inflammation and even serious infection if left untreated.

There are quite a few causes for ingrown toenails, which is why they are such a common issue. Here are just a few ways you could get an ingrown toenail:

  • Not cutting your toenails properly so one side ends up growing in the side of your toe

  • Stubbing or injuring your toe may cause the nail to grow abnormally into the side of your toe

  • Wearing shoes that are too small and forcing your nails to grow into the side of your toe

  • Picking or tearing the corners of your toenail

  • Playing lots of sport can make your skin softer and more susceptible to ingrown toenails

An ingrown toenail may be self-treated at home if it is caught early enough, however our lead podiatrist, Lorraine Humphrey, always suggests seeing a podiatrist first for a medical opinion. If the podiatrist thinks it can be treated at home, they may suggest soaking your feet in warm water 1-2 times a day for about 15 minutes. This will soften the nail and allow you to place a small piece of cotton wool under the nail to provide a successful barrier between the nail and your skin to stop it growing inwards. This process will need to be repeated for a few weeks. If it doesn’t work and you find your ingrown toenail getting worse, then you will need to book back in to see your podiatrist as soon as possible.

If your ingrown toenail can’t be treated at home, the podiatrist will offer you a medical treatment plan.

At Podiatry & Wellness Clinic, our podiatrists offer a non-surgical trim and cut of the toenail to remove the troublesome piece of nail without too much hassle.

If this is not successful, or your ingrown toenail is too far gone by the time the podiatrist sees it, then nail surgery under a local anaesthetic may be advised, to remove the nail. The procedure is very safe and you will be able to walk in and walk out on the same day.

Ultimately, prevention is better than cure, so our advice is to do what you can to stop yourself getting an ingrown toenail in the first place. If you follow these tips, you will reduce your chances of getting an ingrown toenail:

  • Always ensure you cut your nails correctly, straight across the curve of your nail

  • Make sure you wear properly fitted shoes that aren’t too tight, especially around your toes

  • Keep your feet clean and dry as much as possible, and if you play lots of sport, give them time to breathe afterwards

If you have an ingrown toenail then please make an appointment with us so one of our podiatrists can assess you and give you a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and make your toe better.


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