What are Ingrown Toenails?
Monday, 13 July 2015 | Admin
Ingrown Toenails are exactly what they sound like and they're every bit as painful as they sound too. Most commonly befalling the big toe, a nail is ingrown when it begins to grow not only in an upwards direction but also outwards into the surrounding skin.
Ingrown Toenails are a hugely common foot problem and can is caused by intrusive nail causing pressure and irritation as it grows into the surrounding skin or an increasingly misshapen nail curling under itself. In extreme cases an ingrowing toenail can become an extremely painful condition where the nail has pierced the surrounding skin of the toe and led to the onset of infection. At whatever stage your Ingrown Toenail may be, chances are you’ll definitely know about it, either because the initial causes are already likely to be causing you discomfort or because the condition itself is not the most pleasant state for your poor toes to be in.
Ingrowing toenails most commonly occur on the big toe and will often be most noticeable on the top outer corner where the toe meets with the friction and pressure from your shoes, though it is perfectly possible for both sides of the nail to become ingrown. Signs of an Ingrown Toenail include these side areas of the toe appearing tight, shiny and red, hurting with (or later even without) applying pressure and an overgrowth of skin where the nail should end. If infection has set in then the toe may also bleed and seep, and will be extremely sensitive throughout.
Self-Inflicted Ingrown Toenails
The biggest culprit when it comes to Ingrown Toenails is you. Incorrectly cutting your toenails is the main cause of making them ingrown. Cutting them too short or trimming the edges encourages the nail to grow into the surrounding skin. Nails are best cut in a straight line, and don’t try to be a master of home treatment and cut an Ingrown Toenail out! You may get some short-lived relief (and a lot of bleeding) but you won’t fix the root of the problem, and once the re-growth is complete you may find that this further incorrect cutting of an Ingrown Toenail has just made the problem much worse.
As ever, unsuitable shoes have their part to play in this toenail tragedy, but even socks and tights can afford to feel a bit guilty, anything that has forced your toe into a tight-fitting area can lead to Ingrown Toenails. Socks and tights also encourage sweaty feet, and unpleasant as it is to say, the soggier your feet, the softer the skin and the easier it is for a hard nail to pierce. Sometimes even surviving the horrors of a stubbed toe may be rewarded with a stabbing toenail.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
If you notice an Ingrown Toenail developing you should aim to immediately change into suitably roomy footwear and to keep your feet nice and clean by washing them well and frequently changing your socks, so to not give infection the chance to arrive. Any skin that is overgrowing can be gently pushed back with a cotton bud, or the traditional home remedy of pushing a piece of gauze or cotton under the ingrowing area can be attempted if you are brave enough, after enough coaxing, the nail may begin to naturally grow out in it's proper position.
If your nail is considered bad enough, i.e. if it is directly affecting your functionality such as keeping you from sports etc., then surgery will be recommended by your Podiatrist. Ingrown Toenail surgery is usually approached in two ways; the partial removal of the nail or the full removal of it. The final decision is based on the severity of your case as well as any cosmetic desire you have to not be totally toenail-less.
Cap Your Toes
Whether you’ve just identified an Ingrown Toenail or are recovering from surgery, you’ll want to keep your sore toes nice and protected. With a toe cap, your toe can be comforted, cushioned and kept from friction and irritation. We reckon you’ll definitely think your feet are worth it because nothing will make your appreciation of healthy feet grow like dealing with an ingrown toenail.
Toe Caps to help protect an Ingrown Toenail are available at our online store.