Ingrowing Toenail

An ingrowing toenail is when the nail pierces the flesh of the toe. It can feel extremely painful. In more severe cases, it can cause pus and bleeding.

Here is a step by step process of an ingrowing toenail treated recently.

Toenail - Before Operation  Before Operation
Toenail - Cut of nail during operation 2  Cutting of the nail during the surgery
Toenail - Immediately after operation 3  Toenail immediately after the operation
Toenail - two days later 4  Toenail two days after the surgery
Toenail - four days later 5  Toenail four days after the surgery

An ingrowing toenail is most common on the big toenail but can also affect the other toes too.
Sometimes a nail can curl (involuted or convoluted) into the flesh and is not piercing the skin then it is not an ingrowing toenail. This can be painful and also appear red and inflamed.

Why Ingrowing Toenails Occur
Active, sporty people are particularly likely to suffer from ingrowing toenails; because they perspire more. Younger people are also likely to get an ingrowing toenail too, as they pick their nails more, compared to older people who may not be able to reach their toenails.

Women often develop an ingrowing toenails from cutting their toenails too low in order to relieve the pressure and discomfort of an involuted nail.

There are also many other factors that can make you more likely to suffer from an ingrowing toenail, such as:

  • Your gait (the way you walk)
  • Suffering from a bunion
  • Suffering from hammer toes
  • Excessive/Over pronation of the feet (when your foot leans/ rolls inwards)
  • Your toenails naturally splaying or curling out instead of growing straight
  • This encourages your nail to grow outwards or inwards into the flesh causing discomfort
  • Tight footwear
  • Wearing tight hosiery and socks, as it causes your skin to push into the toenail, which then pierces the flesh and creates inflammation of the toe

Symptoms

    • The condition of the toenail can become aggravated when wearing tight shoes
    • The area of toe/toenail can become sensitive and very painful to touch, which can mean an infection may be present
    • When constantly walking in shoes, the toe will be very painful.

Ingrown toenail 1
How To Treat Ingrowing Toenails

Early Stages
You can attempt to prevent your ingrowing toenail yourself by learning to cut your toenails properly. It is ideal to cut your toenails straight across and not to cut the toenail too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. It is easier to cut your toenail after a bath or shower because your nail becomes soft.

Having good hygiene can also prevent you suffering from ingrowing toenails. Try and avoid moist feet by alternating your footwear so that air can circulate in them and dry out any dampness in the shoes. If possible, wear open-toed sandals in the summer.

If you have booked an appointment to see the podiatrist, then in the mean time you can relieve your ingrowing toenail discomfort by bathing your foot in a salty footbath. This will help prevent the infection causing further discomfort and reduce inflammation. After your foot bath, thoroughly dry your foot and apply a clean sterile dressing, especially if you have discharge and try to rest your foot as much as possible.

Most importantly if you suffer from diabetes and are taking steroids or are on anti-coagulants, please do not attempt to cut your nails or remove the ingrowing spike of nail yourself.

Your ingrowing toenail all depends on the severity of your condition. For the most basic painful and irritable ingrowing toenail the podiatrist will remove the offending spike of nail and cover with an antiseptic dressing.

If your toe is too painful to touch, the podiatrist may inject a local anaesthetic before removing the part of the nail that is causing the painful symptoms.

Ongoing Problems
If the ingrowing toenail is left untreated, the infection can spread to the rest of the toe. Ideally the quicker you treat your ingrowing toenail, the less painful the treatment will be. For further advice or a consultation regarding your ingrowing toenail, please contact one of our podiatrists.

Testimonials

“I was treated for an infected toe nail which was extremely painful.
The whole experience was extremely professional. During the treatment they were really informative and the aftercare was amazing too. Would highly recommend.”

“This is the second time I have been treated by Ramesh Mistry for an ingrown toenail, having had nail surgery on my other foot a couple of years ago. After once again struggling to get shoes on and finding driving extremely painful, I decided to go back and get the other foot sorted! Sue and Ramesh fitted me in extremely quickly and the day after the procedure I was completely pain free. Excellent, friendly and professional service- I would highly recommend!”

Total Nail Avulsion

On rare occasions a total nail avulsion may be necessary.

One of the reason’s may be because your nail is thick and pressing into the skin surrounding your toe.

After you toenail has been removed, you’ll have an indentation where your nail used to be. It is perfectly safe for you not to have a toenail however the toe can sometimes look slightly disfigured and therefore many patients lose confidence in wearing open toe sandals etc.

What is the solution?

We at our clinic now do LCN Wilde Pedique. Click here for more information.

Before

photo Removed toenail

 

 

 

 

 

After

photo After gel

 

 

 

 

 

Further Information
If you suffer from involuted nails then the podiatrist can remove the part of the nail that is curling into your flesh and file the edges of the nail to create a smooth surface.

If you are suffering from bleeding or discharge from the toenail infection or even excessive healing flesh (hypergranulation tissue) around your nail, you will need to take a course of antibiotics. As well as having the spike on the toenail removed.

If you see your GP about your ingrowing toenail, they can prescribe a course of antibiotics if you have an infection but most likely they will refer you to a podiatrist.

If you are prone to ingrowing toenails from underlying health problems such as gait, the podiatrist may be able to recommend various treatments for the problem. The podiatrist may also be able to recommend a more permanent solution to the nail itself, such as partial nail avulsion (PNA), which is done under a local anaesthetic, where a wedge of the nail is removed including the root of the nail. This will make the nail becomes a little narrower. This surgery is highly successful.
After the surgery is completed you will have to revisit the Podiatrist for re-dressings on the toenail until the healing process is complete.

Podiatrist Consultation
For further assistance regarding your ingrowing toenail, please telephone on (02) 164 4958. Alternatively, use the form below.

Find your local podiatrist here

Medical Terms
Onychocryptosis