23 Sep What Are Ingrown Toenails And How Can A Podiatrist Help With Them?
Ingrown nails are a nail impairment. In this, the corners or sides of the nails dig into the soft tissues of nail grooves. This growth results in swelling, pain, redness, and irritation in that area. Generally, toenails grow out straight. However, in some cases, both/one side or corner curves and begins to grow into the flesh underneath. More often than not, the big toe gets affected by an ingrown toenail, though the other toes can become affected too.
What Causes Ingrown Toenails?
Many different things can cause ingrown toenails, such as:
- Nail Conditions – Fungal infections around the nails can cause them to thicken, which results in increased pressure on the surrounding skin.
- Improper Trimming – If the nails are cut down around the corners/too short, that allows the surrounding flesh to grow over the edges of the nail.
- Footwear – Sometimes, tight footwear causes the toes to become compressed against each other and results in ingrown nails.
- Trauma – Ingrown nails can also be caused by trauma such as dropping a heavy object on the nail or stubbing your toe etc. In some cases, trauma from running, kicking, or some other injury during a sporting activity can also be the cause of an ingrown nail.
Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail
The most common symptom of an ingrown toenail is constant pain. This will be followed by redness, swelling, and inflammation in the area surrounding the nail. However, some people find it challenging to identify ingrown toenails correctly. If there is a callus or corn along the side of the nail, it can sometimes be equally painful. However, corn generally cause a throbbing pain while an ingrown toenail produces a more constant and sharp pain. Depending on what the podiatrist finds, they will treat the toenail appropriately.
Treatments You Can Try at Home
If you have noticed the symptoms of an ingrown nail early, sometimes home treatments can be useful as well. Immerse your feet in a basin of soapy water or lukewarm salt water. After that, apply an antiseptic to the area and bandage it.
Those with peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, or any circulatory disorders should avoid self-treatment in any form and seek medical care from a podiatrist as soon as possible. Never use OTC medications or attempt to remove any portion of the infected nail. You must consult a podiatrist who will evaluate and treat the nail problem. They would be able to diagnose the ailment and prescribe appropriate treatment or medication.
When You Should Visit a Podiatrist
If you have noticed excessive redness or drainage around the nail, schedule a consultation with an experienced podiatrist. When the home treatment you tried doesn’t deliver any tangible improvement, it’s best to see a podiatrist. As mentioned earlier, if you have poor circulation or diabetes, seek treatment at the first sign of an ingrown toenail. Failing to do so can result in more severe complications.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
- The podiatrist will first remove the ingrown part of the nail.
- They may prescribe an oral/topical medication to treat the nail infection.
- If you suffer from a chronic ingrown nails problem, the podiatrist might recommend a procedure that will help prevent ingrown nails permanently. In this procedure, the corner of the nail will be removed using laser, chemical, or some other methods.
The Best Way To Prevent Ingrown Toenails
Prevention is the best way to avoid ingrown nail problems. Some of the things you can do include:
- Cut nails straight across and not any shorter than the tips of your toes.
- Use a nail file to round off the corners of the nail and never dig into the corners.
- Never tear or rip the nail edges.
- Avoid shoes that have narrow/pointy shoeboxes.
We offer tailored treatment options for various feet-related problems, including ingrown nails. For information on our podiatry services, at Sydney Sports Podiatry, feel free to contact us at either one of our locations.
Thanks for reading,
Sydney Sports Podiatry
1300 474 306