Ingrown Toenail
Removal Sydney

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Infected toe

Ingrown toenails are a common affliction, and it’s very likely that you have either suffered from them or seen one at some point in your life. But do you what causes them?

Ingrown nails are also known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates, and they are a condition in which the nail grows abnormally into the soft tissues around it, causing pain, swelling, bleeding and infection.

Infected toe
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Correct nail cutting shape

Symptoms and Causes

The initial symptoms of an ingrown toenail include pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail. This is often followed by redness and swelling.

If the ingrown toenail gets infected, you might notice pus or bleeding. The skin around the nail may also start to overgrow.

Improper toenail trimming is the most common cause of ingrown toenails. Cutting your nails too short or rounding the edges can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.

Other causes include wearing tight shoes that crowd your toenails, injuring your toenail, or having naturally curved toenails.

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Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenail Relief

If your ingrown toenail is mild and not infected, you can try some home remedies. These can help alleviate pain and promote healing. Patients who suffer from diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or decreased sensitivity need to diligently care for their feet and treat ingrown toenails quickly and effectively, since people with these conditions have a harder time healing from injuries and could suffer greater complications, including the loss of the affected limb.

Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day. This can help reduce swelling and relieve tenderness.
  • Place a piece of cotton or dental floss under the ingrown edge to help the nail grow above the skin edge.
  • Apply over-the-counter creams or ointments to ease pain and prevent infection.
soaking feet

Proper Nail-Cutting Techniques

Proper nail-cutting techniques can prevent ingrown toenails. Always cut your toenails straight across and avoid rounding the edges.

Also, don’t cut them too short. The nail should be even with the top of your toe.

Footwear and Foot Hygiene

Your choice of footwear can affect your risk of getting ingrown toenails. Avoid tight shoes and high heels that press against your toenails.

Maintaining good foot hygiene can also help prevent this condition. Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly to prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

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When To Seek Professional Help

If your ingrown toenail is severe or keeps coming back, it’s time to seek professional help. A podiatrist can perform a minor procedure to remove the ingrown part of the nail.If you notice signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and pus, see a doctor immediately. An infected ingrown toenail can lead to more serious complications if left untreated.

If you have had conservative treatment and it has come back, or your nail is very ingrown (stage 2) then a permanent partial nail removal may be needed. 

1. Conservative Ingrown Removal

Conservative treatment involves clearing of stage 1 ingrown toenails.  This is minor non-painful procedure that doesn’t involve local anesthetic.  Stage 1 ingrown nails are classified when there is minor irritation or infection around the corner (tip) of the nail.

Benefits

  • Immediate relief
  • Quick and effective
  • Pain-free
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2. Permanent Partial Ingrown Removal 

Nail surgery is indicated when there is  Stage 2  ingrown nail that hasn’t settled with conservative treatment. Stage 2 ingrown nails are classified when there is excessive irritation or infection along the entire edge of the nail.

Benefits

  • Permanent removal of ingrow nail
  • Fast recovery time
  • Minimal or no discomfort post-surgery
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