Ingrown toenails are a common condition that affects people of any age, and can vary from mild symptoms to debilitating pain. The cause is a piece of nail protruding into the surrounding skin, which leads to irritation of the local nerves and blood vessels. If left untreated, the nail spike has the potential to break the skin and lead to infection where antibiotic therapy may be required.
Ingrown toenails impact people of all ages, genders and lifestyles. However there are some factors that makes a person more susceptible such as:
- Having involuted (rounded) nails
- Improper nail cutting techniques
- Tight or restrictive footwear
- Playing sports such as netball or footy with side to side movements and repetitive trauma to nails
Initially an ingrown toenail usually presents with mild pain around one edge of the nail (any toe can be affected), with localised redness and possibly swelling. As the ingrown toenail progresses, pus may be evident as the redness and swelling worsens. If the nail breaks the skin, bleeding might also occur and the formation of hypergranulation tissue (“angry” overgrowth of tissue) which can be painful and bleeds easily when knocked.
If treated early, ingrown toenails can usually be managed with conservative treatment by removing the nail spike and offloading pressure on the toe. If more severe, or if you have a history of ingrown toenails we can perform a simple procedure which permanently removes the nail portion. Depending on the amount of infection, antibiotics may also be required in the management of the toe.
During your appointment your podiatrist will be able to assess your toe and determine the best course of treatment for you now and long term.