Podiatry in Frankston, Hastings, Narre Warren, Pakenham Lakeside and Chelsea.

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Walk On Podiatry

Ingrown toe nailsIf you have ever suffered from an ingrown toenail you will be quick to agree that the pain associated with it can be incredible! The sharp pain caused along the edge or at the corner of your nail when wearing closed footwear makes it feel like the nail is digging into your skin. Well…it actually is.

An ingrown nail occurs when a sharp corner or side of your nail presses and digs into the skin next to the nail edge. Once this nail pierces the skin, your toe and the surrounding area often becomes red and is painful to touch.

An ingrown toenail is a common toenail problem and is also known as onychocryptosis. It can be extremely painful and if left un-managed or un-treated can become infected and may require surgery.

What causes them?

Ingrown toenails occur when a sharp corner or side of your nail presses and digs into the skin next to the nail edge. This can be caused by the way you cut your nails (poor technique), naturally curved nail edges, pressure from tight fitting or restrictive footwear. Sometimes repeated trauma to the feet and toes can also cause an ingrown nail…if any of you have ever stubbed your toe hard enough or had someone stomp on it during a sporting contest you’ll know exactly what I mean!

What does it feel like?

Ingrown Nail

An ingrown toenail can be very painful. When the area is pressed the pain can be sharp and oftenwithout pressure the area may feel as though it is throbbing. The ingrown nail area may appear red, inflamed, may produce coloured exudate or pus and sometimes can begin to grown hyper-granulation tissue (extra tissue surrounding the wound site). This tissue is often sensitive and extremely vascular, meaning it bleeds easily.

What can you do to manage it?

Prevention! Learn to regularly cut your toenails safely to prevent an ingrown nail. If it is too late and you already have an ingrown nail, cease wearing tight or restrictive footwear. Soak your foot in a warm saline bath daily (which will act as an antiseptic), dress the area using some antiseptic ointment/liquid (such as Betadine) and sterile bandage.
Repeat these steps daily for 2-3 days and if you do not notice any improvement in appearance or pain you should seek assistance from your podiatrist.

What should you avoid doing?

You should not attempt to cut, dig out or manage an ingrown toenail yourself as this may result in an infection. Self management can occasionally improve initial symptoms but you risk creating and leaving a deep nail spike which will reignite the problem in a week or two. Without the appropriate sterilised instruments you risk creating further infection.

Management:

Using sterile instruments, your podiatrist will be able to gently remove the ingrown portion of your toenail in its entirety and provide simple management strategies to aid with healing. Depending on the level of infection or tissue damage your podiatrist may suggest the use an antibiotic. If ingrown toenails are a recurring problem ingrown nail surgery performed by your podiatrist in clinic may be indicated. So if you have an ingrown toenail and need to have it attended to, contact your podiatrist for prompt advice and management before things worsen.

Don't let your ingrown toe nail get the better of you...and don't think it will go away all by itself. Make an appointment with one of our podiatrists to help you fix your problem and try to avoid ingrown toenail surgery.

Dominic Sanó
Senior Podiatrist - Narre Warren, Hastings and Frankston