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How do I get rid of an ingrown toenail?

Updated: Jan 30

The dreaded ingrown toenail...

Onychocryptosis which is most commonly known as an ingrown toenail, is a condition that is commonly presented to podiatrists. An ingrown toenail can result from either nail growing into the paronychium which is the flesh surrounding the nail, or from growth of the paronychium inwards into the nail bed.

It is an often painful condition which starts with inflammation of the flesh surrounding the nail. Redness, swelling, pain and sometimes pus can occur at the affected nail. If left untreated at this stage, a pyogenic granuloma, which is an overgrowth of tissue due to prolonged inflammation, infection or the presence of a foreign substance, may form.

What causes this condition?

There is no single cause for ingrown toenails. Some of the causes of an ingrown toenail include, pressure from poor fitting shoes, trauma to the nail, improper cutting technique and slightly deformed toenails due to hereditary factors.

The good news is that ingrown toenails can be managed. Here’s what you can do;

  • No more bathroom surgery! - Hacking away at the toenail yourself will only make things worse. Using non-sterile and often unsuitable instruments can lead to significant deformity and infection of the nail.

  • Ditch those poor fitting shoes - Invest in a shoe with more room around the toes. You don’t want too much pressure from footwear against the affected nail.

  • Follow basic hygiene - Clean the affected nail with antibacterial soap and apply antiseptic daily, ensure you keep the nail covered.

  • Control the bacterial load - Soak the toe in warm water and Epsom salt for 15 minutes a day.

  • Cut the nail right - Trim the nail straight across from one corner to the other. Avoid digging in the corners

  • Seek assistance – Visit your podiatrist early in the case of ingrown toenails, don’t wait until there is an infection.

Your podiatrist can use local anaesthetic to numb your toe to remove an ingrown toenail painlessly. Your podiatrist can perform a small surgical procedure to remove a wedge or section of the nail and applying a chemical to stop that section of the nail growing back. This permanent solution is great for those who keep getting in grown toenails on the same toe.

Vronika Ghali is very experienced in dealing with ingrown toenails and performing in grown toenail surgeries. Read more about Vronika or book and manage your appointments online here.

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