How to treat ingrown toenails

Healthy foot on grass - how to treat ingrown toenails

We all know at least one person who has suffered an ingrown toenail -or you might even be that unfortunate person! It’s such a common issue that affects many people, with pain ranging from mild discomfort to a very severe pain that impacts day-to-day life.

Surprisingly, genetics can impact your chance of developing ingrown toenails. For example, you could be unlucky and have a curved root that causes involuted nails which turn downwards and dig in at the edges of your skin. Similarly, Onychauxic nails is a condition where a nail or multiple nails grow abnormally thick. This can increase the pressure on the nail bed, breaking into the skin leading to pain and discomfort. Often this thick nail becomes white or yellow and is mistaken for a fungal infection, so it’s important to be aware and ensure you get the right treatment.

Getting to the bottom of ingrown toenails

I see so many teenagers come in with foot issues, particularly if they play sport. Football boots can cause their feet to sweat, which softens the skin and increase the potential of developing ingrown nails. Teens generally have wide, flat nails with deep skin folds on the sides of their toes. This can can cause issues as they grow, with the nail cutting into the surrounding skin – adding to the teenage angst!

Trauma/damage to the nail matrix (root) can have a huge impact on how the nail grows. I regularly have patients come in with this type of damage to the nail from dropping an item on the toe. This can lead to the nail falling off and a damaged nail replacing it, leading to the telltale signs of ingrown nails. This trauma can even occur if another toe (it’s not aways the big toe that gets an ingrown nail) or an ill fitted shoe is constantly rubbing off the nail root.

A lot of times, ingrown toenails are caused by people not cutting their nails correctly. Below you’ll see a handy diagram showing you the best way to cut your nails and avoid all the pain and trauma!

Always make sure you:

  • Cut nails straight across with a nail clippers and round off the edges
  • Cut your nails when they are dry and not wet
  • Leave a small bit of nail, so it’s not too short
  • Do not pull or rip the top of your nail off
  • Do not try and remove an area that feels like it is digging into the skin yourself.

Ingrown toenails are so common, with many of us personally affected by them. But by taking a proactive approach you can ensure the best outcome and treatment. If you’re suffering from ingrown toenails, don’t suffer in silence! Get in touch so we can build a treatment plan tailored just for you that addresses the root cause of the issue and leads to best outcome.

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