An ingrown toenail – also known as onychocryptosis – happens when part of your toe nail is pressing against your skin and pierces the tissue. Most ingrown toenails affect the first, big toe but they can occur on any toe.
Despite the term, in many cases the ingrown nail is not actually ‘growing’ but piercing the skin, causing inflammation, swelling, pain and infection that make the whole nail acutely painful. Some nails do press into the skin and not pierce the tissue, called an 'involuted toe nail'. These can also be very painful as the pressure of the nail against your skin can cause a corn or callus.
At the clinic conservative treatment is undertaken to prevent nail developing into a painful problem and can cultivate the nail to encourage it to grow straight by reshaping the nail and cutting it correctly.
What can cause an ingrown toenail?
A number of things can cause an ingrown toenail, such as:
Poor nail cutting - A poor cut nail can encourage the nail to grow unevenly.
Ill-fitting footwear - footwear too narrow or two small
Flat Feet – can cause your body’s weight be distributed disproportionately, with your weight rolling over the side of the big toe instead of over the top. This causes ingrown toenails and often a callus on the side of the big toe.
Corns, callus, and dry skin – these can cause extra pressure in the toes, causing pain and infection.
- Trauma – whether a one-off acute injury or an accumulation of smaller injuries.
How do I prevent ingrown toenails?
It is an easy thing to prevent ingrown toenails by following the below tips:
Always wear the right shoes – wearing the correct size shoes that don’t rub or constrict your toes.
- Proper nail cutting techniques – cutting your nails straight across.