Ingrown toenail causes and how to fix them

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Ingrown toenails are easily one of the most common, and potentially painful and debilitating, foot health issues we see. Ingrown toenails typically effect the big toe, and occur when the nail grows around the side of the toe, and can cause pain, inflammation and even serious infection if left untreated.  There are a number of causes for ingrown toe nails, which is why they are such a common issue. You can get an ingrown toenail from:

  • Not cutting your toenails properly and one side ends up growing in the side of your toe
  • Stubbing or injuring your toe may cause the nail to grow abnormally into the side of your toe
  • Wearing shoes long-term that are too small can force your nails to grow into the side of your toe
  • Picking or tearing the corners of your toenail (you’re just asking for an ingrown toenail if you do this)
  • Playing lots of sport (i.e. sweaty feet) can make your skin softer and more susceptible to ingrown toenails
  • People can get ingrown toenails because their toenails are curved and grow that way (tough break)

If you catch an ingrown toenail in its early stages, you may be able to self-treat your situation at home and not need to see a Podiatrist. If you think you may be in the early stages of an ingrown toenail, you can try soaking your feet in warm water a few times a day for about 15 minutes. This will soften the nail and allow you to place a small piece of cotton wool under the nail – this will hopefully provide a successful barrier between the nail and your skin to stop it growing inwards. You need to repeat this process for a few weeks (replacing the cotton wool each time you soak your feet). If you find your ingrown toenail is getting worse, don’t risk it any further, book in to see a Podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you do need to see a Podiatrist there are a number of options available that will effectively resolve your situation.

  • If your situation isn’t too far progressed, the Podiatrist should be able to non-surgically trim and cut away the troublesome piece of nail without too much hassle.
  • In more progressed cases, you may require a local anesthetic to remove the offending piece of nail – the procedure is very safe, you walk in and walk out and get back to normal life.

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