Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails or Onychocryptosis is a condition where the nail pushes into the surrounding tissue causing pressure and pain.

In some cases, this nail edge or spike pierces the surrounding skin of the nail causing severe irritation and can lead to acute localised inflammation or infection.

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Our Podiatrists manage ingrown nails in Kids and adults of all ages. An ingrown toenail can be painful, but easily relieved at the time of consultation.

For persistent or recurrent problems, we have options including correction with a minor procedure.

Do not put up with discomfort in your shoes or with pressure from bedding – Have one of our expert team assess you

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

There are a number of factors that may cause an ingrown toenail. We are often asked at Peninsula Foot Clinic just what causes an ingrown toenail. The following are some common causes of ingrowing nails:

  • Poor cutting technique. This may leave a simple nail spike or hard shoulder in the nail edge that can cause lasting pressure or tissue damage. Often cutting the nails too short
  • Abnormalities in the nail width and growth can predispose some people to higher pressures or chances of ingrowing. It is not uncommon to see nails change shape in the older population due to trauma or hereditary influences. Involuted or excessively curved nails increases the risk of ingrown toenails and can become extremely difficult to tend to properly without specialist care.
  • Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating can increase the risk of acute infection in an ingrown nail. As the moisture is held against the skin it softens and becomes less resistant to pressure from the surrounding nail increasing the chances of piercing the skin.
  • Fungal nails or any condition of the nail that may cause it to become brittle and thickened has the chance of causing more pressure or nail spikes in a nail edge.
  • Poor foot mechanics and pressure between toes can be a factor in developing ingrown nails. If a foot functions poorly causing increased pressure on the inside of a big toe, the surrounding soft tissue is commonly forced against the nail during activity. This can cause an increased chance of reoccurring ingrown nails.
  • Poor fitting socks and shoes can also increase the risk of developing an ingrown nail.

Signs and Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails

An ingrowing toenail is almost always painful. Any pressure from footwear or walking can elicit acute pain at the site.

In cases where the nail may not have broken the skin pain can be the only presenting symptom. When infection is also present you are likely to feel pain accompanied by any number signs of infection, redness and swelling.

In acute cases the affected toe(s) are likely to throb on rest and any slight pressure will elicit significant pain. If left untreated excess tissue can develop in the surrounding skin overhanging the nail edge.

Nail Surgery

Your Podiatrist sees cases of ingrown nails on a regular basis and is able to assess your circumstances and develop a treatment plan that works best for you.

In doing so they will discuss the appropriate remedies for your circumstances considering work or sporting commitments, severity and risk of repetitive episodes.

If simple conservative measures fails to resolve your ingrown nail a surgical procedure may be recommended to provide a long term solution.

This minor surgery performed in the clinic involves a local anaesthetic to the area, removal of a portion of the nail and the application of a chemical to cauterise the area the nail grows from to ensure that aspect of the nail does not grow back.

The area is then dressed up and monitored closely over the coming weeks to ensure no complications occur.

In most cases a return to activity or work can be achieved within 1 to 2 days and with minimal disruption.