Updated: Feb 10
A common foot complication affecting a variety of people, ingrown nails can be a painful and ongoing complaint if left untreated. Ingrown nails are often professionally referred to as onychocryptotic nails which roughly translates to ‘nail spike’.
How do I know if I have an Ingrown Toenail?
Most ingrown nails will begin with slight discomfort down the side of your toe (sulcus), it is often aggravated by pressing on the edge and subsequently worsened with tight fitting footwear or excessive activity.
The nail may not always present with an infection, although ingrown nails are a large infection risk due to their position and hygiene. If the area is infected, it will likely present swollen with erythematous (red) borders around the area. Infected ingrown nails are often much more painful, therefore a sudden increase in local pain may also be indicative of an infection.
If you're unsure, the best advice is to have your podiatrist assess the area for you as soon as possible, this is also helpful as early intervention will often result in better treatment outcomes.
What can I do for my ingrown nails?
The best advice is to seek professional assistance immediately. Self-treatment of ingrown nails will often result in making the condition worse, as you may be using unsterilised instruments as well as making the ‘spike’ larger despite causing short term relief. We recommend dressing the area with an antibacterial ointment (or subsequent) and covering it to prevent infection. There are other recommendations for self-management that can be followed to prevent further pain or complaints; however, it is generally recommended that you have it assessed before treating further.
What will a Podiatrist do for my ingrown nails?
Conservative treatment will be exhausted before any additional treatment is taken. This may involve:
● physical removal of the spike
● filing down the sharp edge
● clearing the sulcus
● packing the edge of the nail to prevent in-growing
● footwear/activity modification
Long term complaints and recurring ingrown nails will almost always be improved through surgical intervention. The current gold standard is a partial nail avulsion, otherwise referred to as a PNA, where the problematic edge of the nail is removed and the base is treated to prevent regrowth. Statistics will often recommend having this completed by a podiatrist as there are better treatment outcomes and success rates. Make sure you are fully explained all the details and what specific type of treatment is used in the surgery prior to undergoing treatment.
If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, or are worried you may be developing problems mentioned above, come in and see our fantastic team of Podiatrist in Kew, or Podiatrist In Oakleigh for an assessment, call (03) 9568 1011 or book online at www.alignhc.com.au.