Ingrown Toenails: Causes and Treatment

If you suffer from ingrown toenails, you are no doubt familiar with the nagging pain of this common ailment. You will also know that if they are not treated quickly or correctly, more severe infection can result, complicating the condition. At Free Your Feet Podiatry, we will always aim to prioritise an ingrown toenail appointment to discuss treatment options and if needed, do a partial or total nail avulsion (removal).

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?  

Ingrown toenails can result from any number of causes. Unfortunately, they often tend to run in a family, so it is not uncommon to inherit the uncomfortable condition.

Something as inconsequential as a bad toe stub, or a weighty object landing on your toe, can trigger an ingrown toenail. Pressure from shoes when undertaking regular, repetitive activities such as running or ballet also greatly increase your chances of suffering from ingrown toenails.

Regularly cutting your toenails too short, or at sharp angles, can also contribute to ingrown toenails. Poorly cut toenails allows for the skin to fold over, and eventually begin to grow over the nail.

And yes, tight, narrow, or poorly fitting shoes can cause ingrown toenails because of the constant pressure. Very tight socks can also contribute.

Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

When making your appointment, please let the receptionist know if you suspect any ingrown nails. Whilst with your podiatrist, as part of your treatment, the nails will be assessed and recommendations for further treatment made.  Depending on the severity of your condition, these may be conservative to start – for example, the podiatrist cutting back the nail and giving you advice about ongoing management.

In more severe cases, total or partial nail avulsion may be recommended. Total nail avulsions are less common nowadays, and a partial removal of parts of the nail causing infection and/or pain is often enough to prevent further discomfort.

You might need a local anesthetic to numb the toe before the podiatrist assesses or treats your condition. The skin can be sprayed before the local anesthetic is injected, to make it a painless process. Regular follow up checks with one of our podiatrists are necessary as part of the treatment.

In the instance of infection, you may be advised to take an oral antibiotic. For a fungal infection exacerbating an ingrown nail, a fungicide can be applied daily. Your podiatrist will be able to advise on this.

Don’t delay and suffer with painful, ingrown toenails. Please contact Free Your Feet Podiatry to make an appointment to have your feet assessed and discuss treatment options.

Call us on (02) 9680 3646.

A medical referral is not required to visit a podiatrist.