Ingrown nails: What they are and how to treat them

Ingrown nails or onychocryptosis is a very common condition. Whilst it is often seen in adolescents it can affect people of all ages.

Ingrown nails occur when the side of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. This is often in the form of a nail spike or hook that penetrates deeply. It can be caused by overly sweaty feet, ill-fitting shoes or poor nail care including incorrect cutting or picking at the nails.

As the nail continues to grow the spike is forced deeper. This becomes more painful, and can develop to the stage that walking is painful, and pressure from shoes or even bedsheets can become unbearable. 

This deep spike also creates a portal of entrance for bacteria. Infections commonly occur as well and the resulting toe is tight, throbbing and inflamed. The nail spike also prevents healing, and a build up of granulation tissue will often ensue.

Podiatrists are experts at treating ingrown nails, and will assess the best option for each patient. For minor cases, trimming the nails can reduce the pressure and relieve symptoms, without the need for further nail removal. However in many scenarios, minor nail surgery is the most effective method to prevent future recurrence. 

The procedure involves the removal of a small nail plate section under local anaesthetic. The nail matrix is then phenolised to prevent the section from growing back. Your Podiatrist will dress the nail and instruct you on the best management for a proper recovery.

If you’re suffering from painful ingrown toenails, call us today on (07) 3823 5423 to book an appointment.

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