So today we’re talking about ingrown toenails. We see an awful lot of these in our clinic. So what is an ingrown toenail? Basically, it’s when the edge of your nail starts digging into the skin slightly, and it starts causing you a little bit of pain, inflammation, and if it’s not treated, it can lead to infection. So these can be incredibly painful if they’re not treated and dealt with correctly. So what causes an ingrown toenail? There are many reasons but one of the main reasons we see is the way that you’re made up, so your genetics. Some people just have a curlier toenail than others basically and therefore the edges of the nail just dig in slightly more. This may or may not cause you a problem, but other things that can exacerbate this or cause an ingrown toenail are what you do in your daily life. So for example, if you’re very sporty, football, rugby, dance, all these things cause an awful lot of trauma and pressure to the toenails, so these can cause an ingrown toenail to flare up. The shoes you wear are also very important. So if you were very tight fitting shoes. Heels, things that will cause a lot of pressure on the forefoot, then these can lead to an ingrown toenail as well. Other things, one off things like if you drop something on your foot, or if you’ve got a fungal infection in your nail, and it causes it to change shape and got thicker, all these things can lead to extra pressure and therefore an ingrown toenail.
So what can you do about it? I’ve already mentioned that footwear is very important. So wearing looser shoes, for example, a trainer or a shoe with a strap or a lace, which is wider and deeper at the front will definitely take the pressure off the nails. Cutting the nails, try not to dig down the sides. A lot of people will try and do this, but they may leave a little spike of nail, which may cause further problems. So just follow the natural curve of the nail when you’re cutting them and keep them short and neat. The other thing is try and avoid pressure basically on the nails. So I mean, I know if you’re into sports and things like that, you can’t really but just think about what you’re doing in your daily life and any pressure avoidance on the toenails will help. If you have got that inflammation and pain present, what you can do is pop them in a basin of warm salty water. So that just helps settle down any inflammation and pain.
If you’re still struggling, and it’s not working and you think I’ve still got pain, inflammation, this is getting worse then you need to see a podiatrist. So come in, and we will assess you, and we will either recommend a conservative treatment, or there’s a small minor operation where we remove a sliver of the nail which is causing the problem permanently. And that is a permanent solution to the ingrown toenail, basically. So once you’ve had that procedure done, it’s gone. You don’t have to worry about it again. We’ve had plenty people in with problems like this, one example, a lovely patient called Robert came in with toes double the size of normal, highly infected and had multiple courses of antibiotics trying to sort it out with no results basically. And the reason being it was the nail that was digging it and so no matter how many courses of antibiotics he had, it wasn’t going to resolve that problem. So, we did the minor procedure on him, took out the sides of the nails which were causing the problem. Healed up within a few weeks, back at work, no pain, no infection, no problems. So if you’ve got an ingrown toenail, do not leave it please. Get in touch with us or your local podiatrist if it’s not working what you’re doing at home. All right.
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