What are ingrown toenails?

An ingrown toenail is a common condition typically affecting the great toe, in which the corner or side of the nail becomes incurvated (turned inward) and grows into the skin and soft flesh of the toe. This results in irritation of the surrounding soft tissue, often causing pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and sometimes an infection. At ChilternWellbeing, the Podiatrists specialise in the treatment of recurring and severe ingrown toenails and specialise in performing ingrown toenail surgery.

What causes ingrown toenails?

Common causes of ingrown toenails include the following:
  • Genetic inheritance for incurvated toenails and/ or thickened soft tissue surrounding nail borders.
  • Injury to your toenail
  • Improper trimming of your nails too short or not straight across.
  • Wearing tight shoes and/or socks that crowd your toenails
  • Pathological nail conditions such as fungal infections.

What complications can an ingrown toenail cause?

Early and mild ingrown nails are slightly painful and red. More severe cases result in red, swollen nail borders, which may lead to the formation of yellow purulent discharge from the affected area. If left untreated or undetected, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection, which may require intravenous antibiotics and surgery.

What treatments are there for ingrown toenails?

Home treatment is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected, or if you suffer from medical conditions that put your feet at high risk, such as diabetes, nerve damage, or poor circulation. Make sure to visit ChilternWellbeing  to ensure the right treatment is provided to you.

At ChilternWellbeing , your Podiatrist will first examine your toe and select the treatment best suited for you. 
Sometimes a minor surgical procedure may be performed in the office to ease your pain and remove the offending nail. After injecting your toe with a local anaesthetic, your Podiatrist will cut out the ingrown portion of the toenail and chemically cauterise the underlying nail matrix (nail root) to prevent that portion of the nail from permanently growing back. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day.
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