What is an ingrowing toenail?

Ingrowing toenailAn ingrowing toenail is one that has put so much pressure on the edge of the toe, often due to its  curved shape, that the nail has broken the surface of the skin

What causes an ingrowing toenail?

There are a variety of reasons that an ingrowing toenail develops. These include simply having a too large a nail for the toe, an injury such as stubbing the toe. The most common reason, however, is wearing shoes that are too tight or not trimming the nail often enough.

What can I do myself to treat an ingrowing toenail?

If the problem is recognised early enough (before there are any signs of infection) then there are some steps you can do at home to help:

  • Wear well fitting shoes that allow your toes to move – you may thing about wearing sandals to help the condition to heal.
  • Soak your foot in warm water 3-4 times daily.
  • Keep your foot dry during the rest of the day.
  • If you don’t see any improvement in 2-3 days, or if the condition gets worse, seek professional advice (a podiatrist or your GP).

What happens if the condition get worse?

There are occasions when despite your best efforts nail surgery is required to give a permanent solution to the painful and potentially dangerous condition of an ingrowing toenail. Minor nail surgery consists of the permanent removal of the problematic side or sides under local anaesthetic.

While the two injections to the base of the toe may be slightly uncomfortable the procedure itself is painless. Any discomfort after the procedure can be managed with paracetamol although this is not always necessary.

The toe usually needs to be dressed for about a month following surgery but a couple of days off work is usually enough to give the healing process enough of a start. Sometimes recreational activities need to be postponed during healing e.g. sport but otherwise activities can be recommenced soon after the procedure.

When we carry out this procedure at Theale Wellbeing Centre we always discuss the options with you so that you can make an informed decision.

If you have been suffering with a painful toenail or have any other concerns with the health of your feet please call us and make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists.

This is the fourth in our serious about common foot problems. Our we aim is to provide you with information about these conditions plus hints and tips (where possible) on how to avoid and treat them.