Ingrown Toenails- How to Treat
Ingrown nails occur when the nail, usually that of the big toe, grow into the flesh instead of over it. This can occur as a result of a traumatic event (dropping something on the toe), improper cutting, infection, thickening of the nails, poor fitting footwear and in some case from a severely pronated or flat foot.
Signs of an ingrown toenail include; pain. redness, swelling, heat, curving of the nail and infection if the problem is left untreated.
Treatment of ingrown nails includes;
- Removal of the offending nail spike
- Soaking the toe in salt water or epsom salts
- Applying a topical antibiotic
- Keeping the area clean with gauze or band-aids
- Relieving pressure in the area (proper fitting footwear)
In some cases surgical nail removal is necessary for severe or recurring ingrown toenails. The Chiropodist may only remove the diseased or damaged portion of the nail but in some cases the entire nail must be removed. This procedure can be permanent or non-permanent and is done in-office under a local anaesthesia. The entire process takes about 45-60 minutes.
A topical antibiotic is prescribed to the patient following surgery with daily dressing changes advised for the next 2-3 weeks. A follow up appointment is booked 48-72 hours post-surgery for the initial dressing change and to assess the wound bed. A nail that has not been permanently removed may take up to 12 months to fully return.
If you suspect an ingrown nail it is best to make an appointment with your chiropodist. When caught early, ingrown nails can often be treated in office without the need for local anaesthesia.