Ingrown toenails can feel like having a small needle permanently stabbing your toe. Just replace the needle with a sharp nail spike, and the description is pretty accurate. Every step you take, you feel the pain. Your discomfort is aggravated by wearing shoes, and in some cases, even resting a bed sheet over your feet.
We treat a lot of ingrown toenails every day, and the majority of these are preventable. That is, they were caused by something the patient has done unknowingly, as opposed to uncontrollable genetic causes.
Today, the My FootDr team have shared their top three simple things you can do to address these common self-inflicted causes – as well as how to permanently fix this painful problem.
1. Trim your nails in a straight line, don’t ‘pick’ at the edges
We estimate that at least 50% of ingrown toenails in kids and adolescents are caused by a poor nail cutting technique. Moreover, we often see this group more than once if they don’t adjust this behaviour. Specifically, we’re talking about the tendency to:
- Curve the nails down into the edges
- Cut deep down into the edges
- ‘Pick’ or rip the nails off
Following these principles means that either the nail may be encouraged to grow down into the sides of the toe, or you’ll leave behind an unseen nail spike that may pierce the skin as it grows. These issues are easily preventable by always cutting the nails straight across with nail scissors.
2. Don’t wear tight shoes that pinch your toes
When you spend a day in tight, narrow footwear that pushes against the side of your toes, two things happen.
- The skin surrounding the toenails is pushed up against the nail, increasing the likelihood of the nail piercing the skin
- The shoes rub against your toes, increasing the likelihood of other problems like bunions, corns and calluses
Avoiding pointed shoes and ensuring the space in the toe-box (the part of your footwear that houses the toes) is sufficient is an easy and simple way to help prevent ingrown toenails, and a variety of other problems while you’re at it.
3. Have a PNA procedure
PNA stands for partial nail avulsion, and is the most popular treatment for ingrown toenails that we perform at My FootDr. If you’ve had more than one ingrown toenail before, it’ll also likely be your first choice as it’s a permanent solution.
This procedure is performed in the clinic chair, in under one hour with ~20 mins of actual procedure time. It’s done under local anaesthetic, so you don’t feel a thing. We remove the small section of the affected nail, and apply a chemical to the base of the nail (where it has ingrown) to destroy the nail growing cells. This means that the nail does not regrow in this small area, while the rest of your toenail continues to grow as normal.
While there is a slim chance that your body may repair the nail growing cells and they will continue to produce new nail, your satisfaction is our priority. This means that if your ingrown toenail returns within one year of your PNA, we’ll perform it again free of charge.
Need your ingrown toenail treated ASAP?
While prevention is vital for the long-term, if you’re currently battling an ingrown toenail and need it seen to immediately, we’re here to help. Our team of 150+ board-registered podiatrists are experienced in treating ingrown toenails, both with the PNA procedure and other non-invasive methods.
We understand how excruciating ingrown toenails can be and the need for fast relief. We can arrange to get you in to see us as soon as possible.