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  • Writer's pictureSpine, Health & Stability

Ingrown Toe Nails

Ingrown toenail can be painful, unsightly and usually get infected over prolonged periods of time.

Ingrown toenails occur in both men and women. According to the National Health Services (NHS), ingrown toenails may be more common in people with sweaty feet, such as teenagers. Older people may also be at higher risk because toenails thicken with age.

Many things can cause an ingrown toenail, including:

  • cutting toenails incorrectly (Cut straight across, since angling the sides of the nail can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.)

  • irregular, curved toenails

  • footwear that places a lot of pressure on the big toes, such as socks and stockings that are too tight or shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet

  • toenail injury, including stubbing your toe, dropping something heavy on your foot, or kicking a ball repeatedly

  • poor posture

  • improper foot hygiene, such as not keeping your feet clean or dry

  • genetic predisposition

Using your feet extensively during athletic activities can make you especially prone to getting ingrown toenails. Activities in which you repeatedly kick an object or put pressure on your feet for long periods of time can cause toenail damage and increase your risk of ingrown toenails. These activities include:

  • ballet

  • football

  • kickboxing

  • soccer

Ingrown toenails can be painful, and they usually worsen in stages.

Early-stage symptoms include:

  • Skin next to the nail becoming tender, swollen, or hard

  • Pain when pressure is placed on the toe

  • Fluid building up around the toe

If your toe becomes infected, symptoms may include:

  • Red, swollen skin

  • Pain

  • Bleeding

  • Oozing pus

  • Overgrowth of skin around the toe

Ingrown toenail management techniques.

Adolescents have higher rates of ingrown toenails due to their growing bodies, and often small footwear, this is also why a higher incidence of ingrown toenails occurs during the winter months.

To help avoid ingrown toenails, you should: 1. Always cut your toenails straight across and never down the sides of the nails.

2. Avoid wearing footwear which is too tight at the front of the foot. The same goes for tight socks.

3. Avoid picking your toenails, or running anything down the side of your toenail which hasn’t been appropriately sterilised.

4. Alter your activity to avoid the toenail aggravating the surrounding skin.

5. If already suffering from an ingrown toe nail cover the area up with a simple dressing to avoid the area becoming infected.

6. Soak your foot in warm salty water to help reduce any infection which might be present around the nail.

7. Further, if these conservative options fail, I am are able to permanently remove the portion of the ingrown nail while leaving the unaffected portion of nail intact. This results in no ingrown toenail, while resulting in a cosmetically pleasing nail. The procedure is undertaken in the treatment room under local anaesthetic and you’re able to walk out of the room pain free.

Please make an appointment if you need help with ingrown toe nails!

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