Podiatrists appreciate how even the name 'ingrown toenail' (known as onychocryptosis) can make some people shiver. Yet, the condition can be effectively dealt with and rarely returns after skilled treatment. To better understand, and help prevent this unpleasant condition, let's examine it in detail...
What exactly are ingrown toenhails?
These occur, usually on the big toe, when corners or edges of a toenail have grown into the skin on one or both sides of the nail. Noticeable symptoms include the skin becoming hard, swollen or tender; as the years pass your nails can also thicken.
Pain is often felt when pressure is placed on the toe and there may be a build-up of fluid. As the condition progresses, the skin may become red and swollen, with some pus or bleeding. Skin may also grow over the nail.
Why toenails may become ingrown
Understanding - and avoiding - some of the common causes can help you avoid this problem. Irregular or curved toenails are a starting point. These are often caused by poor nail-cutting techniques. Angling the sides of your nails can encourage the condition, as can cutting your nails too short. A toe injury can be a starting point; it's always good to have these professionally assessed. Poor foot hygiene and excessive sweating can also be a factor.
Often, a mixture of poor posture and inappropriate footwear can be a problem. Socks or stockings that are too tight, and shoes that are too narrow for your feet to fit comfortably, are common factors. As is the use of your feet during serious athletic activities, from ballet lessons to kicking a football, or if you enjoy kickboxing, for example.
So proper footwear is key, both at play, and especially if much of your working day is spent standing or walking. A simple example: wear steel-toed boots in appropriate working environments - including home DIY products.
If you feel you might have ingrown toenails
Many people ignore the problem, hoping it will sort itself. That doesn't happen. Instead, the condition will gradually worsen and become more frequently painful.
The simple answer is to have your condition professionally assessed, by our skilled Perth Podiatrist, here at Melville Wellness Centre. As a first step to better feet, simply call (08) 9314 2777.