What Is An Ingrowing Toenail?
An ingrowing toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail presses into, or pierces the surrounding skin.
This can happen if for example, the nail breaks, is unevenly trimmed, is cut too short, if the nail border is unusually curved, if the nail is injured (during team or contact sports such as football or something being dropped on the toenail), or if the edge of the nail is pulled in an attempt to remove it.
Pressure on the skin around the nail edge causes the area to become red, hot, swollen and painful. If the nail edge penetrates the skin an infection may occur. If this happens you may also notice some pus or a bad smell from the area.
How Can I Prevent It?
If possible try to trim the nails "straight across" and file the corners. Try not to cut the nail so short that you cannot see the nail corner. Try to keep the nails smooth and even. Other techniques include taping the skin away from the nail edge and/or placing a cotton wool pack beneath the nail edge to gently lift it away from the skin.
Ingrowing toenails can be painful, become infected and often require professional treatment. Sometimes antibiotics are also needed. If a nail persistently ingrows, it may require nail surgery. This involves removing a part (or all) of the toe nail under local anaesthetic.
How Can I Prevent It Recurring?
One way to try and prevent an ingrowing nail from returning is to allow the nail to grow out so that both corners are visible, then trim the nail straight across and file the corners. This helps to stop any sharp nail edge from pressing into the soft skin around it. Never pull or tear your nails.
Book an appointment at Kilkenny Foot Clinic by calling 056-7795716