Ingrown Toenail Treatment Brisbane
Updated: Oct 3
Are you suffering from an ingrown toenail? If so, you may need to visit a podiatry clinic in Brisbane. Ingrown toenails are a common, painful condition, affecting around 20% of the population. Fortunately, there are many treatment options to alleviate your symptoms, reduce your pain, and stop your ingrown toenails from recurring.
At Align Health Collective in Brisbane, Queensland, our expert team of experienced podiatrists offer in-depth, individualised treatment plans for ingrown toenails. Treatment options for ingrown toenails can include conservative management techniques that can be followed at home, and when necessary, minor procedures to surgically remove the offending nail and treat the affected area.
What are Ingrown Toenails and Why Do They Occur?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation on one or both sides of the nail. Ingrown toenails usually occur in the big toe, but any toenail can be affected.
There are three main categories for ingrown toenails: mild, moderate, and severe. At-home treatments and proper nail care are usually effective in mild cases; however, a podiatrist or general practitioner (GP) may need to diagnose and treat moderate and severe ingrown toenails. Your podiatrist may recommend antibiotics, a wedge resection, or minor nail surgery to effectively treat your ingrown toenail and prevent future complications.
It’s also important to note that ingrown toenails will not get better without treatment. As the nail grows into the skin, it can become infected; if left untreated, this can eventually result in a bone infection, also known as osteomyelitis.
Ingrown toenails can be triggered by a variety of factors, including poor foot hygiene, incorrect nail trimming, wearing tight socks and shoes, and genetics. Additionally, individuals who suffer from other medical conditions that impact the feet, such as diabetes and poor blood circulation, can be more prone to developing ingrown toenails.
Let’s look at a few of these risk factors in more detail:
Nail cutting technique: Unlike fingernails, toenails need to be cut straight across and should not be rounded, shaped, or filed down at the edges. You shouldn’t cut your toenails too short either, as the skin around your toenail may grow over the corners and edges, which can lead to an ingrown toenail.
Footwear: If your shoes or socks are too tight or too narrow, this will put repeated pressure on your toes and toenails and can cause your toenail to grow into the surrounding skin.
Toenail trauma: Trauma and injuries resulting from hitting or stubbing your toe, or dropping something heavy on your toe or toenail increases the likelihood of ingrown toenails.
Sports: Certain sports can cause toenail injuries, with many commonly found in ballet dancers, gymnasts, football and tennis players, and runners. Any sport or activity that puts extra strain and pressure on the toes and toenails can result in a higher frequency of ingrown toenails.
Medical conditions: People who are diabetic or who have peripheral arterial disease (poor blood circulation) are particularly prone to ingrown toenails.
Genetics: Some people inherit abnormally curved, large, or thick toenails, while abnormal nail border, nail plate, nail bed, and nail fold development can also be linked to genetic factors. Each of these can increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails.
Ingrown Toenail Symptoms
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should book a consultation with a podiatrist as soon as you can. Early intervention can reduce pain and discomfort very quickly, but the longer you wait, the more pain and complications you’ll experience.
Tenderness and pain: Ingrown toenails can cause tenderness and pain in the skin around the affected nail. If pressure is applied to the affected area, the pain will usually increase in intensity. This tenderness and pain are often caused by socks or shoes adding extra pressure to the affected area.
Redness and swelling: Pain caused by ingrown toenails is often accompanied by swelling and/or redness around the corners and sides of your toenail. This is caused by the nail growing back into the skin and can also be a sign of infection.
Inflammation or infection: An ingrown nail can create a break in the skin which bacteria can enter, causing an infection. This can result in inflammation, pain, an abscess, bleeding, yellow or green pus, and/or liquid drainage in the affected area.
Difficulty with everyday activities: Infection, swelling, pain, and increased pressure on the affected toenail can each make it difficult to go about your normal daily activities. You may experience additional pain when walking and wearing shoes or socks as this extra pressure irritates the skin and toenail.
Ingrown toenail symptoms can be easy for some people to ignore at first, but if left untreated, mild discomfort can quickly turn into incredible pain and a serious infection.
Treatment Options for Ingrown Toenails
There are several treatment options available for treating ingrown toenails and providing pain relief. During your consultation, your podiatrist will thoroughly examine your toenails, toes, and feet, and evaluate the severity of your ingrown toenails.
Then, based on your unique needs, they will advise treatment that can range from conservative management techniques to surgical procedures. Your podiatrist will also give you advice and guidance on post-treatment care as well as how to prevent future occurrences of ingrown toenails.
Conservative Management Techniques
Conservative management techniques are non-surgical methods of treating ingrown toenails. These techniques may include soaking the affected toe in warm, salty water, wearing open-toed shoes, keeping the feet and affected toenail clean and dry, limiting exercise and sweat, or applying antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend using a wedge to lift the nail away from the skin and encourage proper growth. These conservative techniques can provide a permanent solution for mild cases of ingrown toenails.
Ingrown Toenail Surgery
For more severe cases, where conservative management techniques have been ineffective, you may need ingrown toenail surgery. This is a minor surgical procedure known as partial nail avulsion (PNA) or wedge resection. This is a very common procedure that all podiatrists are very familiar with. PNA will remove the offending portion of the nail, related tissue, and/or nail bed.
Your podiatrist Indooroopilly may also recommend chemical matrixectomy, which targets both the nail and nail matrix with phenol and will prevent regrowth of the nail. When PNA is done without chemical matrixectomy, the nail will grow back, but most likely in a straighter, healthier direction.
PNA is performed under local anaesthetic which will numb the area to ensure you have a painless experience. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. You can expect to be back on your feet and return to your daily activities within a few days.
Your podiatrist will provide you with aftercare and post-procedure instructions to make sure you heal quickly and thoroughly, and to ensure that you don’t experience any further complications or pain.
For very severe cases, your podiatrist may recommend total nail avulsion, where the entire nail is removed. This treatment works as an effective last resort, and would usually only be recommended if a recurrent ingrown toenail has not responded well to any other treatment.
Recovery for Surgical Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
Here are some aftercare and recovery tips to help you manage the healing process after surgical treatment for an ingrown toenail:
Follow your podiatrist's instructions carefully
Keep your toes clean and dry to prevent infection
Take prescribed medication as directed by your qualified healthcare professional
Keep your foot elevated above chest level to reduce swelling
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to avoid further irritation – open-toed shoes are a good option
Follow up with your podiatrist to monitor any potential complications.
Seeing a Podiatrist vs. At-Home Treatment
Not sure if you should see a podiatrist? Have a look at the comparison table below and decide if treatment with a podiatrist is the right option for you.
Difficult to diagnose accurately
Can accurately diagnose the root cause and severity
Pain and Discomfort
Limited pain relief options
Offers professional treatment to alleviate pain and discomfort, and can provide permanent relief
Increased risk of complications if left untreated
Delivers professional treatment that can prevent complications and promote healthy nail growth
Limited treatment options
Provides a range of customised treatment options to eliminate pain
Limited knowledge and expertise
Trained experts in foot health with experience in safe and effective treatment
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Preventing ingrown toenails is easier than treating them. Here are our top tips on how to prevent ingrown toenails from recurring:
Choose footwear that fits properly and allows enough space for toe movement.
Practise proper nail trimming:
Cut toenails straight across
Don’t cut toenails too short or deep on the sides
Don’t file or round the edges down.
If you are prone to ingrown toenails, consider regular nail care with a podiatrist.
Seek treatment for symptoms as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of complications so you can return to your daily activities quickly.
Get in Touch
Located close to the Brisbane CBD, Align Health Collective provides a wide range of podiatric services. We understand how painful and disruptive ingrown toenails can be, which is why our podiatry team will ensure the highest level of care and support throughout your consultation, diagnosis, and treatment.
We strongly believe in providing effective care that ensures long-term relief from your symptoms. Moreover, we focus on delivering individualised treatment plans targeted at your unique needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards healing and getting back on your feet, pain free.
How much does it cost to remove an ingrown toenail in Brisbane, QLD?
The cost will depend on the type of treatment you require as well as your insurance cover, however, we do offer bulk billing. With a referral from a GP, you are eligible for five bulk billed allied health visits per year.
How do you fix an ingrown toenail?
Podiatrists use a range of conservative management techniques, or it may be necessary for your podiatrist to perform a minor procedure called partial nail avulsion. This is a common, minor surgery to remove the affected area of an ingrown toenail. It is performed by applying local anaesthetic and removing the offending part of the nail.
Can I cut an ingrown toenail myself?
You definitely shouldn’t cut an ingrown toenail yourself. This can lead to further complications, more pain, and infections. You should seek professional treatment from a podiatrist or qualified healthcare professional.
Can a nail salon cut out my ingrown toenail?
This is not recommended. Nail technicians can assist in teaching you the correct nail trimming techniques, but they cannot cut out your ingrown toenail. This is a minor surgery and must be performed by a podiatrist or qualified health practitioner.