An ingrown toenail results from the nail growing sideways into the wall of the toe rather than outward.

This condition most commonly effects the big toe with the digging in of the nail providing an irritation to the skin, that can further create pain in the side of the toe, redness, and some swelling. In many cases the ingrown nail goes onto break the skin surface, which then sets up a site for possible bacterial infection and if left untreated will often develop an unpleasant odour with an accompanying discharge.

There are a number of potential causes leading to an ingrown toenail:

  • A tendency for ingrown toenails can be linked to one’s heredity
  • Trauma to the toe area can stimulate an ingrown toenail. Common examples include stubbing of the toe, having an object fall on the toe, and activities such as running or kicking that place repeated pressure on the toes.
  • Cutting the toenail too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail creating the ingrown effect.
  • If you wear shoes or socks that are tight or too short, then this can induce an ingrown toenail.

Diagnosis of an ingrown toenail is straightforward through a physical inspection of the site. After examining the offending toe, your podiatrist will opt for the most appropriate solution. In some cases this may require the removal of part of the nail’s side border. If an infection exists, then the application of an antibacterial solution will assist.

To prevent the recurrence of an ingrown toenail a couple of simple steps are to be followed. When trimming the toenail always aim to cut in a straight line and avoid cutting them too short. And make sure that you choose footwear that is well-fitted, not too short or too long as both will put pressure on the toes with the potential consequence being an ingrown toenail.

Contact Bentley Podiatry today for more information.