What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail is nail which grows into the flesh or the tissues on the side of the nail. This causes pain, redness and swelling of the surrounding tissues. If left untreated an ingrown toenail can lead to infection. A podiatrist is best trained to diagnose, treat and prevent ingrown toenails.

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What causes ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails are the result of a sharp edge, corner or spike of nail that penetrates the surrounding tissues or sulcus. The resultant forces on the nail push the nail deeper into the surrounding tissues. Nails which curl inwards and dig into the flesh are more prone to ingrown toenails.

There are a number of factors that can cause nail spikes and lead to ingrown toenails. These include:

  • Trauma
  • Poor nail cutting
  • Genetic factors or nails which curve inwards
  • Poor foot function or gait
  • Poor fitting footwear
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Ingrown toenail treatment at our Melbourne clinic

Our podiatrists in Melbourne treat the cause of your ingrown toenail which is removal of the offending nail spike. Unless you remove the offending nail spike an ingrown toenail will always return. Patients who self-treat their own nails are often only successful at removing some of the nail spike and gaining short term relief. Often the remaining nail still has a sharp corner or edge and the ingrown toenail returns with time, usually making the condition worse.

At our Melbourne clinic our podiatrists have the specialist tools required to help remove nail spikes and help smooth the remaining edge of the nail, to help ensure the nail plate grows out successfully. Ingrown toenails are always best treated early before they progress to the chronic stage so don’t delay in making an appointment if your feel that start of an ingrown. In these cases usually only one or two podiatry treatments are required, often without the need for an anaesthetic.

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Cure a chronic ingrown toenail with nail surgery

Chronic ingrown toenails require more specialised podiatry treatment and may need ingrown toenail surgery to successfully treat the problem.  In these cases the nail has grown and embedded deep in the surrounding tissues and is unable to be reached with standard conservative care. Nail surgery performed by a trained podiatrist can cure a chronic ingrown toenail for life.

At our Melbourne foot clinic our podiatrists are experienced in performing ingrown toenail surgery on both children and adults. It is a simple “walk in walk out” procedure performed under sterile conditions in our clinic and will help cure your ingrown toenail for life.

At our Melbourne podiatry clinic we guarantee results and all nail surgery performed by our podiatrists comes with our 100% cure nail surgery guarantee.

Antibiotics and ingrown toenails

Antibiotics are often used to treat ingrown toenails by GPs but often the patient and GP can get false information on its role. It is important to remember that antibiotics are used only to treat infections associated with ingrown toenails. Antibiotics will not cure or successfully treat an ingrown toenail. The only way to successfully treat an ingrown toenail is to treat the cause. This involves proper removal of the offending nail spike and a podiatrist is best served to do this. If the spike is not removed then the infection will simply return once the course of antibiotics has ceased.

At our Melbourne clinic we constantly hear of cases where patients have been told by their GP that they have to wait until the infection settles before they can seek podiatry treatment. This is false and often means by the time they come to the podiatrist the ingrown toenail is often more ingrown and chronic. The end result being ingrown toenail surgery required to cure the problem. In a lot of these cases if podiatry treatment was sought earlier the nail could have been easily treated with conservative care.

Orthotics can help prevent ingrown toenails

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Your gait (the way you walk) and the way your foot functions can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. Feet that tend to roll inwards or excessively pronate will push off the side of the big toes, increasing forces on the sulci and nail plate. This causes nails to change shape and curve inwards increasing the risk of an ingrown nail.

The good news is by improving foot function, orthotics can help prevent curved and ingrown toenails. Orthotics reduce excess foot pronation and help your feet push off straighter through the big toe, which helps to reduce harmful forces on the sides of nails.

Our podiatrists are experts in custom orthotic prescription and at our Melbourne clinic we guarantee you 100% comfort through our custom orthotics guarantee.

FAQ ingrown toenails

A podiatrist should always be your first port of call when you have an ingrown toenail, even if you feel it is infected. A podiatrist has the best tools to treat ingrown toenails and will have the best chance of removing the offending nail spike. The earlier you see a podiatrist the better the chance for success without the need for surgery. Remember antibiotics only help settle an infected ingrown toenail and will not successfully treat it.

Ingrown toenails are most common on the big toes because the nail plate and sulcus is bigger, which creates a greater margin for error (nail spike) and hence increases the risk. Also there are far greater forces on the big toe and the sulcus when the foot pushes off through the big toe. Ingrown toenails on the lesser toes can still occur but most tend to grow out themselves with time as the sulcus is usually small and there are fewer forces on the toe.

Cutting down the corners of toenails is big no no and a common cause of ingrown toenails. When cutting the corners too short there is a greater chance of leaving a sharp edge and this can then easily penetrate the surrounding tissues. For this reason podiatrists advise that it is always best practice to cut your toenails straight across.

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Contact a podiatrist in Camberwell, Melbourne

Do you suffer from painful ingrown toenails?

Our friendly Melbourne podiatrists are trained and experienced in diagnosing, treating and preventing ingrown toenails. We also perform ingrown toenail surgery at our Melbourne clinic to cure chronic ingrown toenails in both children and adults.

To make an appointment with one of our friendly podiatrists contact us today.