In-growing Toe Nails
What causes in-growing toe nails?
- Poor nail care, e.g. cutting down the side of the nails
- ‘Involution’ of the nail plate
- Thickening or distortion of the nail plate (can happen after an injury or due to fungal infections)
- Excessive moisture, i.e. sweat
- Poor fitting shoes
- Abnormal biomechanics
The cause is often a combination of more than one of these.
After treatment of the acute problem, the podiatrist can help you to reduce the predisposing factors that have caused the problem.
It is important to visit your podiatrist as soon as possible when your toe becomes painful, it will be much easier to treat this problem if you seek help before the area becomes inflamed and/or infected.
After the podiatrist has treated the area, you will be asked to keep it clean and dry to promote healing.
Things you can do to assist healing:
- Bathe the area daily in warm water with salt added.
- Allow the infected area to dry in the air.
- Keep clean by covering with a dry dressing when wearing shoes.
- Allow to air when not wearing shoes.
- Never wear shoes that are too tight or those with a tapered toebox.
To prevent this problem recurring:
- Always cut or file nails straight.
- Keep the skin around the nail clear of debris – using a nail brush (or an old toothbrush) can be helpful.
- Pack the ‘sulcus’ at the side of the nail with a small piece of dry cotton wool.
- Change hosiery regularly.
- Only wear hosiery made from natural fibre, e.g. cotton or wool.
- Allow the feet to air as much as possible.
- Avoid tight footwear and those with a narrow or tapered toebox.
If the problem persists, a minor procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic to permanently remove all or part of the nail. Your podiatrist will advise if this is appropriate.