What is an ingrowing toenail?
Ingrowing toenails can be excruciatingly painful. The skin turns bright red and shiny, and the toe can be swollen. You may experience throbbing pain and tenderness to the slightest touch. The pain can often stop you playing sport.
Sometimes you just get a nail that digs in and presses uncomfortably on your skin all the time when wearing shoes. This can cause a constant pain like a toothache. Occasionally the nail pierces the skin and leads to an infection
The most common factors causing ingrowing nails are trauma or damage to the toe, incorrect nail cutting, excessive sweating, and tight footwear. Infection is often a problem as an ingrown toenail can have an open wound.
Does cutting a ‘V’ in the centre or cutting down the sides stop my toenail ingrowing?
Unfortunately not, this is an old wives’ tale. Sometimes patients self-treat their ingrown toenail by cutting it back down the sides. For a time this might feel better but cutting down the side of the nail often leaves a spike and as the nail regrows the ingrown toenail recurs.
The good news is that there is something we can do about it.
Often Our Podiatrists can treat the nail conservatively removing the spike and getting the wound to heal but in some cases we need to perform nail surgery to remove the spike and stop the problem recurring.
Nail surgery is a procedure used by podiatrists to remove a small portion or occasionally in some cases the entire toenail.
This is done frequently in clinic by our Podiatrists with very good outcomes and very little pain. We do the procedure under a local anaesthetic and the area where the nail is removed is treated with a chemical to prevent regrowth. Once the nail is healed the appearance of the nail is usually fairly normal.
Many of our patients have suffered for years before seeking help with their ingrowing toenails and are thrilled with the speedy resolution of pain and relief that they experience following our nail treatments and surgery. Often, they will say that they wish they had sought help sooner.
Here are some tips to help prevent you getting an ingrowing toenail:
• Trim your nails straight across and don’t cut them too short.
• Wash your feet daily and dry them carefully.
• Wear shoes that fit correctly.
• Avoid tearing or cutting down the sides of the nails, it will cause a nail spike.
• Seek help sooner rather than later if you do get a problem.
If you are suffering with ingrowing or painful toenails, please contact us for advice. Our Podiatrists can tell you more about your treatment options, help you return to comfort quickly and let you get on with more important things in life.
Or download a copy of our leaflet:
Hanging by a Toe - A Guide to Ingrowing Toenails.