Ingrown Toenail Causes and Solutions
Ingrown toenails are a problem we often see here at Waikato Podiatry. They can be a very stubborn condition to shift, and can be quite problematic and painful for sufferers.
What causes ingrown toenails?
There are a variety of things which can cause an ingrown toenail. The number one cause is incorrect cutting of the toenail.Toenails that are cut right down at the corners, or peeled off at the edge, are much more likely to become ingrown. If the nail pierces the skin, it is likely to cause infection in the wound.
Another common cause is ill fitting footwear. Shoes that are too tight will cause pressure from side to side within the foot. A typical example of this would be riding boots, because they have a very pointed sort of toe box.
Another cause can be congenital or hereditary reasons. So, if your toenail is curved in when you look at it end on, and it sits inside the toe, then these areas can be more prone to becoming ingrown.
Picking and pulling nails can also cause them to become ingrown. This can cause trauma or irritation down the side of the nail, which will become red, and sometimes infected.
How do we treat ingrown toenails?
One of the most important decisions made when treating an ingrown toenail is to whether it is infected or not. A key thing to remember is antibiotics treat infections, not ingrown toenails. Until you treat the fundamental cause of the ingrown toenail, it is likely to keep being a problem.
Addressing the cause of your ingrown toenail is an excellent starting point.It really depends on how advanced the ingrowth area has got, and whether there is open skin around the area. Once we have this hyper granulation tissue or proud flesh that is produced around the nail, it is really unlikely that it will settle down of it’s own. There are some more advanced techniques which will help with that.You can try doing strong salt baths to help minimise infection spread.
What can I do at home?
The most important thing to do is to address the causative factors. Obviously, if it is hereditary, there is not much you can do about that, but you can stop yourself picking your nails. Also, wearing shoes that provide adequate room can be a massive help. You can do salt baths, and you can trim your nails properly.
We are here to help though. If you have any problems, please do come and see us here at Waikato Podiatry clinic.
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