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Ingrown Toe Nails

 

Ingrown toenails occur when the nail plate pierces the surrounding skin. This can be a spike from a damaged or poorly cut nail piercing the side or the end of the toe or it can result from mis-shapen nails such as highly curved, fanned or thickened nails.

 

The picture below illustrates an extreme chronic untreated ingrown toenail.  
 
They are more common in young men due to increased moisture caused by sweating that makes the skin softer and easier to breach, but they can occur at any age.

Infections are very common in conjunction with ingrown toe nails - fortunately the betterNOW! healthcare Podiatrist is able to access and supply antibiotics and other prescription only medicines if a patient needs them.
 
Once off ingrown toe nails can be easily treated painlessly by your podiatrist by removing the nail spike, resulting in instant relief.  Regular maintenance and/or instruction of foot care and hygiene usually permanently ameliorates this problem.  Removing an ingrown toenail is almost always a painless experience.
 
 
ingrown toe nails

 

 

How to self treat an ingrowing toenail

 

If you suspect your toenail is beginning to ingrow there will be characteristic redness and tenderness at the side of the nail or at the tip.  It is usually from:


  • Poor cutting technique
  • Stubbing leaving sharp piece of nail
  • Tearing of nails down the side
  • Too tight shoes
  • The shape of the nail
  • Sweaty feet


Sometimes soaking in salt water can prevent it from becoming a full-blown problem. 


Add 1 heaped tablespoon of salt to 1 pint of luke warm water.  Soak your toe morning and evening in this solution for 10 minutes. 


This will stop bacteria from proliferating and will cleanse and sooth the area.  Do not be tempted to poke around down the side yourself as you will probably make matters worse.  Do not put antiseptic creams on the affected area; this makes it soggy and the sharp piece of nail causing the problem can grow in more easily.

 

If it doesn't improve within 3-4 days call us to make an appointment.


If you have sweaty feet you can apply an astringent such as surgical spirit or TCP to toughen up the skin where the nail is growing into the flesh.

If your feet are excessively sweaty (ie your socks are wringing wet all the time and you can see beads of sweat) you may have a condition call Hyperhidrosis.  This condition needs specialist care - we can advise and help you with this, please call for further details.

 

Signs of Infection:


  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Increased discharge - such as pus or yellowy liquid
  • Odour
  • Increased pain
  • Red tracking stripes up up your foot and leg (this is an emergency)#
  • Feeling generally unwell


If you have 3 or more of these symptoms, call us as soon as possible for an appointment so that we can give you the correct therapy that may include supply of antibiotics.


Contrary to popular belief we can still perform nail surgery if only the nail area is infected.  If however the infection has spread to the base of the toe you will have to wait until the antibiotics have cleared the infection.  So if you suspect your nail is beginning an infection, don't delay.

 

Prevention of Ingrown Toenails

 

  • Cut your nails straight across (follow the contour of your toe to avoid sharp corners)
  • Don't cut a 'V' in it (it doesn't work!)
  • Don't poke down the sides because if you breach the skin microbes can invade
  • Keep thick nails filed down
  • Wash your feet daily
  • Change your socks daily
  • If you have sweaty feet alternate your footwear (ie don't wear the same shoes everyday - they need to dry out to stop bugs growing in them!)
  • If soaking in salt water hasn't worked within 3 days, make an appointment with your podiatrist

 

Nail surgery


For chronic or persistent ingrown toenails, a minor surgical procedure can permanently correct the problem.  

 

Leah is expert in nail surgery having specialised during her time working for the Army and within a state hospital.  We very rarely remove the whole toenail usually just the ingrowing piece leaving a slightly narrower nail and a pleasing aesthetic result.

 

This procedure is done under local analgaesia - if you don't like the idea of an injection in your toe we can use a special numbing spray or provide you with a analgaesic cream to apply 45 minutes before your appointment.

 

The procedure is usually bloodless and doesn’t involve any cutting of skin - Great! So no stitches!

 

We understand that the thought of a toenail operation is not very nice but we can you assure you that all of our patients so far have been surprised how easy it was.

 

Healing is complete between 4-6 weeks.

 

 

 

 

bupa_logo  Leah, our podiatrist is registered BUPA provider Reg: 8520309.  If you have BUPA cover you may be able to claim for nail surgery




So, if you are fed up with painful toenails, why not give us call and make an appointment to see if we can help you.  01223 832 808

 

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