Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
An ingrown toenail (also called an ingrowing toenail) is a common – and often painful – foot condition that affects men, women and children of all ages. The problem begins when one side of the toenail digs into the surrounding skin. It becomes progressively worse, if left untreated, as the nail grows deeper and deeper into the toe.
Your big toe is most likely to suffer from an ingrown nail, but your other toes may also be affected. Your toenail forcing its way into the skin can impair your movement and make your toe highly sensitive to pressure (even the weight of your duvet at night could hurt).
Ingrown toenails are particularly problematic in urban environments such as London, where our foot care clinics are located. Rushing to catch public transport, standing for long periods during the daily commute and pounding pavements can be agonising with ingrowing nails.
Reasons Why Ingrown Toenails Develop
Certain foot problems and lifestyle choices, as described below, are linked to the development of ingrown nails.
Abnormal, fan-shaped nails (they’re prone to digging into toes)
Poorly trimmed nails (if very short or curved, they’ll easily grow into skin)
Fungal nail infections (they make nails thicker)
Perspiration (damp skin is weak and easily pierced)
Tight or high-heeled shoes and restrictive hosiery (they squeeze toes)
Foot injuries (they can disrupt normal nail growth)
Signs You May Have an Ingrown Toenail
Common symptoms associated with an ingrown toenail include redness, tenderness and swelling around the sides and end of the toe. The skin might feel warmer than usual.
The pain and discomfort caused by ingrown toenails ranges from moderate to severe, depending on how advanced the condition becomes before it’s treated. The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists (one of the professional bodies of which we’re members) points out that the sharp pain of an ingrown toenail can make you ‘feel as if you have a splinter’ stuck in your foot. Your nail cuts into the soft, sensitive flesh that it’s meant to protect.
Ingrown Toenails Lead to Infections
If your toenail pierces your skin, bacteria will be able to enter your body more easily than usual. That’s why ingrown toenails frequently lead to septic toes and feet. The infection may cause severe inflammation. The affected area may bleed, smell unpleasant and ooze pus. Occasionally, a fever or abscess may develop.
How Best to Treat Ingrown Toenails
It’s crucial to seek professional ingrown nail treatment swiftly, ideally before an infection appears. Avoid trying to sort out the problem yourself as you may well cause more damage.
Our podiatrists have considerable experience of resolving ingrown nail issues and always try to help patients with conservative treatment, however in certain circumstances, despite conservative treatment, some toenails may require removal.
We provide ingrown toenail surgery in London to eliminate pain and other symptoms. Thanks to our skills and expertise, the procedures we conduct are as comfortable as possible. Your podiatrist will numb your affected toe with local anaesthetic and perform partial or full nail removal surgery (making every effort to retain a natural-looking appearance). The exposed nail bed will then be chemically treated, helping to prevent regrowth.
We’re always happy to discuss any details about toenail surgery in order to put your mind at ease before your procedure. Afterwards, we’ll check your progress with follow-up sessions. We can even prescribe antibiotics, if necessary.
Ingrown Toenail Surgery in London
You can rely on the talented podiatrists here at Feet By Pody to treat your ingrown toenail problems effectively in one of our modern, hygienic, well-equipped London clinics.
For specialist treatment for ingrown toenails from a London foot care professional, please call us on 0207 099 6657 or book an appointment online.