Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a toenail becomes embedded into the surrounding skin. The toenail pierces through the skin causing it to become inflamed and painful.


Why Do We Get Ingrown Toenails?

There are several causes of ingrown toenails. Understanding how an ingrown toenail starts is the first and most important step in fixing the problem toenail long term.

The most common causes of ingrown toenails are:

1 - Trauma to the nail

If you bump or knock your toe, sometimes this can cause damage to the nail and/or the skin next to the nail. When this damage occurs, it is easy for the bacteria that normally live on your skin to get into the tissue and start a nasty infection.

2 - Poor nail cutting

When you cut the toenail too short or leave a little spike or sharp edge on the nail, the toenail can start to dig into the skin as it grows or gets pressure on it. Once the nail breaks the skin, an infection can then develop.

3 - Picking the nails

Like cutting the nail badly, if you tear your toenails off, it is common to leave a rough edge or corner on the nail edge that can break the skin and allow an infection to start.

4 - Nail shape

Some people are born with curled nails and others may develop a more curled nail shape as they age due to the way they move, the types of shoes they wear and general wear and tear on the nail.

Curly or involuted nails, tend to dig into the surrounding soft tissue and can become very painful even without the presence of an infection.



Some people opt to go see their GP for Antibiotics which can certainly help the infection. The problem with just treating an ingrown toenail with antibiotics is that if the nail is still digging in, it is going to come back and still be a problem.

The most important thing to do when treating an ingrown toenail is to get rid of the piece of nail that is digging into the skin.

Conservative Care

We start with a range of conservative options to clear the nail edge out before we do anything else. If we can remove the troublesome nail edge, your ingrown toenail will feel immediately better.

If this does not work, the next option is a custom-made nail brace that bonds to your nail and helps to straighten it out. This special bracing treatment is called Onyfix and has been helpful in treating painful ingrown toenails caused by excessively curly nails.

The final option is surgery. Toenail surgery can feel like an intimidating thing if you have never had it before. However, our Podiatrists are uniquely qualified to do this procedure and have performed many of these procedures in the past.

There is always a risk associated with any surgery, so this option is usually reserved for when all other conservative options have not helped to relieve your ingrown toenail pain.

For help with ingrown toenails, call us on 08 7120 6063 or book online with our experienced team at Leading Edge Podiatry.

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