Ingrown toe nails are extremely painful. The corner of the nail digs into the side of the toe cutting into the skin, often becoming bacterially infected. The toe will become painful to the touch and often very red. Pus may be present.
The main cause of Ingrown toenails (IGTN) is incorrect cutting. When nails are cut down along the side of the toe, it is easy to leave a small spike of nail. As the nail grows forward, the spike acts like a dagger, digging in.
Certain types of nail shapes will predispose a person to a IGTN, as will very sweaty feet.
When cutting your toe nails, always cut straight across then use a nail file to gently shape the corners until they are smooth. NEVER EVER cut down the sides.
If you are in any amount of discomfort, please make an appointment ASAP. Once the toe is infection, our job is far more difficult.
After treating the nail, your Podiatrist will offer advise for long term improvement. Often this involves reshaping of the nail. In the event of repeated IGTNs, your Podiatrist may advise a procedure call a Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA). This procedure is done under local anaesthetic and involves permanently removing the offending section of nail. The procedure takes less than an hour and usually only involves taking panadol for pain relief. If you'd like to read more about how to cut your nails properly, read out blog here