Ingrown Toenail Treatment in Melbourne
You've probably heard of ingrown toenails before...
...it is a condition where the nail on the big toe grows into the side of the toe causing pain and possibly infection!
In the techincal medical term for ingrown toenails is ‘onychocryptosis’.
This article will describe what an ingrown toenail is, what the causes them and how a Podiatrist will treat your ingrown toenails.
What is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail is a change in the shape of a nail which causes it to dig into the skin rather than sit on top.
Typically occurring in the big toenail, the nail grows into and penetrates the skin on either or both sides of the nail.
As a result of this, pressure is applied onto the skin which can result in pain, swelling and in some cases bleeding...
..and on some occasions it can also get infected!
What causes an Ingrown Toenail?
There can be a number of causes of an ingrown toenail, some of which are listed below:
- Tight fitting footwear;
- Improperly cut toenails;
- Infections of the nail or nail bed;
- Injury to the toe; and
- Lack of maintenance of proper foot hygiene.
How is in Ingrown Toenail treated?
There are a number of treatment options are available for an ingrown toenail:
1. First line measures to try at home
There are some simple steps that can be adopted at home that can help to treat an ingrown toenail.
- Gently pushing the nail out of the nail bed and then trimming the nail straight across. Do not cut down the side of the nail as this can lead to further growing in of the nail.
- Soaking the affected toe in warm salty water will help to draw out any infection and soften the nail.
- Dress with Betadine and Bandaids to protect the area and reduce the potential for infection.
2. Podiatric treatments
Depending on the extent of the ingrown nail, your Podiatrist may be able to remove a small wedge of nail to resolve the problem.
It is important to ensure the nail edge is filed correctly to reduce the risk of future ingrown nails.
The area may also be packed with foam/cotton wool to provide a barrier between the nail and the skin.
Anti-biotics will be required from your doctor if the ingrown nail is infected.
3. Surgical treatment
This is offered to patients in whom the ingrown toenail is causing on-going problems that cannot be relieved with conservative management.
Surgical management may also be required if a large portion of nail is growing into the skin.
Surgical treatment involves removing a section of the toenail under anaesthetic.
In most cases, a small part of the toenail that is growing into the skin is removed.
The area is then cauterized with a chemical called Phenol to prevent the nail from growing back.
Following the procedure, a dressing is applied which needs to be changed every few days.
The toe usually heals within a couple of weeks.
How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails
There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent ingrown toenails.
- Maintaining proper foot hygiene
- Wearing correctly fitted shoes appropriate for your activity
- Trimming the nails regularly and maintaining a square shape to the nails.
Conclusion for Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail can be a painful condition.
Simple preventative measures can be adopted to prevent it from occurring.
However in cases where it is causing bleeding and inflammation along with pain, conservative treatment options along with more advanced medical and surgical treatments are available.