What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the side edge of a toenail curves downward onto the skin, sometimes piercing it open to create a wound.

To some, an ingrown toenail may sound like a small problem. But anyone who has felt the exquisite pain that comes with a thin nail edge digging into the flesh, knows that a small toe can create big problems!

People with ingrown toenails have pain when putting on shoes, when walking, and even when the toe is touched or pressed on. This seemingly minor issue causes people to refrain from sports or their normal exercise routine. They may have to wear sandals to work or actually take their shoes off, just to get through a workday. These inconveniences can disrupt a healthy, productive lifestyle.

What causes an ingrown toenail?

So you may be wondering why you got an ingrown toenail in the first place. Often, the repetitive microtrauma that the toe goes through on a daily basis is largely to blame. Think of how many times a day your toe rubs or hits the top and/or side of your shoe. The continual pressing or shear on the top and side of the toe and toenail force it downwards and inwards.

Look at your toe. Do you have a callus (skin thickening) on the side? This is a sign of excessive friction, occurring naturally from the way you walk. Or, is your big toe leaning to the side, resting closely to the second toe? The side pressure that occurs with every step becomes significant over time and can actually change the shape of the nail plate. These are just some of the ways that our biomechanics can encourage ingrowns.

Other causes of an ingrown include:

●     Genetic predisposition

●     Bunions

●     Ill-fitting shoes

●     Overexertion, standing throughout the workday

●     Hyperhydrosis

●     Postpartum (hormonal fluctuations and/or pitocin)

●     Fungal toenail

How do we treat ingrown nails at Ace Feet?

We start with a toenail consult to get to know your feet, your toenails, how long this has been going on, and how it has responded to any treatments in the past. Treatment is initiated right away, to rid you of pain and give a normal, pain-free nail.

Ace Feet offers the newest technology in nail care, including a non-invasive resin treatment that “trains” the nail to grow straight. This treatment helps relieve pain immediately, and has been shown to prevent recurrence.

Whenever possible, the resin treatment is preferred. There is no piercing of the nail bed, no anesthesia, no needles, no side effects, no medication interactions. Applying a resin to the top of the nail is safe for everyone, as no medicine enters the body and there are no invasive or surgical procedures. This means that pregnant women, children, diabetics, people with immunocompromised conditions all can have their painful ingrowns addressed safely.

Of course, sometimes an ingrown toenail leads to infection. There are times when antibiotics are necessary. There are times when the ingrown needs to be removed. Early treatment can avoid these complications, but they do occur. Appropriate treatment may involve nail removal, foot soaks, antibiotic, and a change in shoe style.

Ultimately, an ingrown toenail should be evaluated by a doctor who can diagnose and treat the problem appropriately. If you’re interested in having your toes looked at by the doctor at Ace Feet, book a toenail consultation here.

Leave a comment