What Does A Podiatrist Do For An Ingrown Toenail?
Updated: Feb 1
An ingrown toenail can be a painful and difficult medical condition. It is important to understand what causes an ingrown toenail and when it is time to seek help from a podiatrist. There are several options available for the treatment of an ingrown toenail, so understanding what your podiatrist can do for you is helpful in finding the best solution.
What Causes An Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail typically occurs when the corner or side of the nail grows into the flesh around it. This often occurs due to improper cutting of the nail, such as trimming them too short or leaving them jagged after cutting. Wearing tight socks or shoes can also put pressure on the nails, causing them to grow into the flesh around them. Other factors that can contribute to an ingrown nail include genetics, injury, fungus and other medical conditions.
The Role Of A Podiatrist
A podiatrist is a doctor who specialises in caring for issues related to feet and ankles. A podiatrist can diagnose and treat any problems that you may have with your feet or ankles, including ingrown nails. When it comes to treating an ingrown nail, there are several options that your podiatrist may suggest depending on the severity of your condition. These include soaking your feet in warm water and Epsom salt; using antibiotics; numbing medications; prescription strength creams; custom orthotics; and surgery. Your podiatrist will be able to determine which option is best for you based on their diagnosis and experience with treating this condition.
Assess The Condition Of The Ingrown Toenail
The first step your podiatrist will take for an ingrown toenail is assess its condition to determine the best treatment method. During the examination, they’ll look for signs of redness, swelling and infection, as well as any other symptoms that may be present. We always aim to provide the most effective treatment with the least amount of pain so that you can walk out of our clinic feeling comfortable and have immediate pain relief.
Clean And Dress The Affected Area
Podiatrists will typically clean and dress the affected area with an antiseptic solution to remove any debris and bacteria. Dressing may involve the use of antiseptic covered by a bandage or gauze.
Remove Part Of The Toenail If Necessary
For minor ingrown toenail problems, our podiatrists can conservatively trim away the affected nail portion that is causing pain. This treatment is often done on the same day as your first appointment to provide you with immediate pain relief.
Nail Care And Preventative Measures
To continue caring for your nails and prevent recurring problems, you might consider the following advice:
Cut your nails straight across instead of a rounded shape
File the edges of your nails to smooth any sharp corners that may cause irritation
Avoid wearing tight shoes, which can put pressure on your toes
Wash and dry your feet regularly to prevent fungal and bacterial infections
Avoid cutting the nail too short, as this can cause the skin to fold over the nail
Long Term Resolution
If the ingrown toenail is severe or a recurring problem, nail avulsion surgery may be required. This is an effective treatment with excellent success rates for individuals seeking long-term permanent resolution of persisting ingrown toenails. The procedure is done under local anaesthesia to ensure the process is pain-free, with fast healing periods and good cosmetic outcomes. Our podiatrists are medical professionals and can perform the surgery in the clinic.
Tips For Prevention
It is always better to prevent an ingrown nail than have it treated. Here are some tips that will help you prevent this condition from occurring:
Wear shoes with enough room in the toe end so that they are not too tight or constricting on your feet
Do not cut your nails too short
Avoid picking at hangnails
Trim your nails straight across instead of rounding off their corners
Wear properly fitting socks
Taking proper care of your feet can go a long way in preventing many foot-related issues from occurring, including ingrown nails. If you suspect that you have an ingrown nail, reach out to us at Northern Podiatrist Clinic via our contact form or call 08 7924 7038. We can properly diagnose and treat your feet before the condition gets worse. With proper care and maintenance, you should be able to keep your feet healthy and free from painful conditions like ingrown nails.