An ingrown toenail is a painful condition where part of the nail grows into the surrounding skin, it usually affects one or both big toes, but any toe can develop an ingrown toenail. It can range from mild and irritating, to excruciatingly painful and leading to soft tissue infection of the surrounding skin requiring a course of antibiotics.
Many people find that ingrown nails run in families, as the shape of the nail that often predisposes an ingrown nail is inherited, just like hair shape and colour can be. Another common cause for an ingrown nail is nail involusion, this is where the nail is excessively curves causing it to pinch the underlying skin, this can provoked by many years of wearing narrow shoes and heels. Trauma, such as stubbing the toe can cause the nail to dig into the surrounding skin. Another common reason for the development of ingrown nails is people who attempt to self-treat their nails which often exacerbates the problem due to poor technique.
There are a few things which may cause an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails are often very painful and can become infected. The toe may be painful on one side of the nail or both, especially when pressure is placed upon it. The affected area where the nail is digging into the skin of the toe may be red, hot and swollen, bleed or secrete pus if there is an infection present.
Podiatrists are experts and treating ingrown nails, many health care professionals may prescribed antibiotics for the acute infection, but often this does not fully resolve the problem as the offending nail which is penetrating and breaking the skin (causing the portal of infection) needs to be removed.
The podiatrist may remove the offending portion of the nail on the same day as the assessment. Sometimes with ingrown nails, patients will have to return to have the piece of nail removed under an local anaesthetic, if the area is too painful to remove without it.
The most effective and permanent treatment for a chronic and recurring ingrown toenails is nail surgery; where a podiatrist will either remove the entire nail or a part of it, and apply a chemical called phenol to the area where nail grows to destroy it and prevent regrowth, eliminating the problematic nail permanently. This procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic and can be carried out in the clinic therefore no hospital admission is required.
If you have a problem with your foot or lower limb, and you are unsure whether or not podiatry can help you, then why not contact us. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0151 558 0099.
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