Is the end of your toe sore and red?
Does it hurt more than it should when you kick something, even a soccer ball?
If so, then you may have an ingrown toe nail.
What is an Ingrown Toe Nail?
Ingrown toe nails are exactly as the name would suggest. The edge of the nail , usually the corner, starts pushing against the skin on the side of the toe, and the skin begins to grow over that nail. Sometimes a piece of loose nail even pierces the skin.
How does it happen?
Unfortunately, nails don't always grow like they're supposed to. They can come in all shapes and sizes, and if your nail is more curved than flat, then it's quite common for it to grow inward. Sometimes, just dropping something on your toenail or giving it a good whack can make it change shape, or cause the skin around the nail to swell over the nail.
A vicious cycle begins; as the nail grows inward, it worsens the swelling. So an ingrown toenail left untreated can get worse really quickly!
Am I cutting my nails wrong?
The easiest solution that many have heard is to simply "cut your nail straight across." But, not all toes are the same, and few grow straight across, so this is an unlikely answer.
More often than not, the reason the toe nail becomes ingrown is because the edge of the nail was not cut and the rest of the nail breaks away, leaving an unattached little piece of nail embedded in the skin.
What happens if I just leave it?
Your toe nail does not stop growing just because you want it to. Once it's ingrown, it will continue digging its way deeper, and will become infected, adding to the pain.
What can we do to make it better?
The only way to truly fix an ingrown toenail is to remove the piece of nail that is growing in. So come on down and we can cut away that pesky piece of nail that is causing the problem and get your toe back to normal again, just like that!
However, if the nail shape is bad or if it's something that could come back, then you may need to get an ingrown toe nail surgery to permanently remove that pesky piece of nail. But don't worry, we can do that too.
So if your nail is getting far too close for comfort to your skin, then give us a call at Simply Feet Podiatry because it is simply what we do!
What can I do myself?
There are also a few things you can do to make it feel a bit better at home. Covering it with a plaster and some antiseptic cream, or soaking you foot in some warm salt water (home made, not from the sea!). Both of these things will help to reduce the inflammation and keep any bugs away from it which can cause infection.
If you have any questions regarding ingrown toenails or would like to make a time to see a podiatrist, please feel free to email or call us. We would love to help!