Ingrown Toenails

Everyone will have suffered from an ingrown toenail at one point in their lives. This condition affects people of all ages – from young children to the elderly. Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of the nail grows into the skin instead of growing on top of it. The big toe is the digit most commonly affected, but it can occur in other toes as well. Children are generally affected because their nail is wider than their nail bed and older adults will get ingrown toenails because of their curved, thick toenails. Ingrown toenails are quite common and can be very painful, especially if they are not treated properly. Please read over some of the facts below before you consider operating (or digging into the inflamed nail-bed) on your big toe on your own.

Common Causes

  • Improper nail cutting
  • Ill-fitting socks & shoes
  • Trauma to the toes
  • Genetics (large nail, curved nail shape)
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Dramatic changes in body weight

  • Change in gait (due to lower limb, foot, back injury)
  • Fungal toenails
Ingrown Toenails

Some interesting misconceptions around the management of ingrown toenails:

MYTH: Cutting a “V” shape into the nail will stop the nail from curving downward.
FACT: Nail growth is dependent upon the nail bed and cutting a “V” in the nail will not affect how the nail grows at all.

MYTH: Trimming the nail borders consistently will stop ingrown toenails from happening.
FACT: This can actually make the condition worse.

MYTH: Placing cotton under the nail will alleviate the pain.
FACT: Nope. In fact, this can actually help to breed harmful bacteria and spread infection.

MYTH: You can buy effective ingrown toenail ointments over-the-counter at the Chemists.
FACT: While these topical treatments can alleviate the pain, they will not address the underlying condition.

Common Causes

  • Stop cutting your toenails so short – you should be able to get your fingernail underneath the sides and end of the nail.
  • Avoid ill-fitting shoes. So the moral of the story is -don’t cut off your nail to spite your toes or something like that.

For more information about how Podiatry can help you, call us today