Ingrown Toenails

By Sharni O’Donoghue

If you are experiencing ingrown toenails or know someone who is, it is time you visit North East Podiatry.

Ingrown toenails (onychocriptosis) are a common condition that impacts people of all ages. An ingrown nail is caused by a piece of nail puncturing the skin or nail bed. The toe can become painfully inflamed and/or infected if bacteria enters the broken skin.

The toe can become very painful, very quickly if left for too long, If a nail spike is protruding into the skin, normal activities such as walking, sports, sleeping and ability to wear shoes is compromised. The corners of the nail continue to grown into the skin making the area tender.

Causes of ingrown toenails

Causes may include trauma to the nail (i.e. dropping something heavy on the nail), repetitive trauma from footwear, poor cutting or picking of nails, abnormal shapes of toenails and ill-fitting footwear (i.e. narrow shoes).

It is important to book in and get your nails checked if you suspect an ingrown toe nail is developing. Treatment is much more effective when the area is acute, rather than leaving it too long. If untreated, the nail will continue to grow into the skin and infection risk is heightened.

How we treat Ingrown toenails at North East Podiatry

One of our podiatrists at North East Podiatry will assess the toenail, the cause of the injury and identify the best possible treatment plan. If minor, the nail spike can be effectively removed. If more serious, a minor surgery may be required. This is the most effective option as the nail edge is permanently removed.

The surgery is called a Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA) or Total Nail Avulsion (TNA) depending on which part of the nail is required to be removed. A local anesthetic is administered by one of our podiatrists to ensure the surgery is pain-free. The painful section of the nail is removed, and the nail bed and base is killed with a chemical solution to disable nail growth. Our podiatrists will dress the area and you are required to follow instructions until we see you again one week after the surgery. The area should settle nicely now that the stubborn piece of nail has gone. The minor surgery is relatively pain-free.

Frequently asked questions

What is the correct way to cut nails?

Follow the natural curvature of the nail. Ensure you cut straight across, not down the sides. If you cut down the sides, you may leave a piece of nail behind, increasing your risk of an ingrown toenail.

What’s the cost of nail surgery?

The cost of a Partial Nail Surgery is $280. If you require an extra edge, an extra $60 is added to the price. The total amount also includes any dressings and checkups you require.

Does footwear matter?

Yes. If you have shoes that are too tight or narrow this will increase the pressure at the nail and may cause an ingrown toe nail. Make sure your shoes are deep enough particularly in the toe box area. Repetitive trauma from the material in the shoe or steel cap rubbing on the toe is likely to irritate the nail.

Who should I see?

Our podiatrists at North East Podiatry are registered podiatrists that are professionally trained to treat ingrown toenails. If you suspect an infection is manifesting, oral antibiotics may be required. This is great to reduce the bacterial lead however the nail will still need to be addressed.

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