06 Jun Beat Ingrown Toenails This Winter
Brr, it’s winter and you’re probably keeping your feet nice and toasty in a pair of slippers or UGG boots. But if you want your lower limbs to be summer-ready, it’s time to give your feet some much-needed TLC now. If you’re tired of dealing with the agony of ingrown toenails, our podiatrists urge you to consider opting for ingrown toenail surgery during winter. Read on to find out why.
What are ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, swelling and potential infection. Here are the common signs to watch out for:
- Pain and Tenderness: The affected toe (usually the big toe or hallux) may experience pain. Pressure from the ingrown nail digging into the surrounding skin can cause discomfort, which may seem worse when walking or wearing shoes.
- Redness and Swelling: The area around the ingrown toenail can become red, swollen and inflamed. The skin may appear irritated, swollen or warm.
- Infection: If ingrown toenails are left untreated, an infection may develop. Signs of infection include increased pain, worsening swelling, pus or discharge around the nail, and warmth or red streaks spreading from the toe. This requires prompt medical attention by a podiatrist.
Common causes of ingrown toenails
Improper Nail Trimming
One of the main causes of ingrown toenails is incorrect nail trimming. Cutting the nails too short or rounding the edges encourages the nail to grow into the surrounding skin. It’s important to trim your toenails straight across to minimise the risk of ingrown toenails.
Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can put pressure on the toes, causing the nails to grow into the skin. The constant friction and compression can lead to irritation and the development of ingrown toenails. Choose shoes that have adequate toe room.
Some individuals are more genetically prone to developing ingrown toenails. Inherited factors can affect the shape and structure of the nails and the surrounding skin, making them more susceptible to ingrowth. If you have a family history of ingrown toenails, it pays to be vigilant – prevention is better than cure.
Trauma or Injury
Injuries to the toes such as stubbing your toe, dropping heavy objects on your foot, or participating in activities that put excessive pressure on the toes can disrupt the normal growth pattern of your toenails.
If you’re prone to ingrown toenails or experiencing persistent discomfort despite all home remedies and treatments, book in to see our podiatrists this winter to permanently address the problem.
2 ways to treat ingrown toenails surgically
There are a number of ways to treat ingrown toenails, including at-home treatments. However, if the problem persists, it is better to seek the advice of our podiatrists who can decide if you need surgery or not.
Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA):
Partial Nail Avulsion involves the removal of the ingrown portion of the nail while leaving the healthy nail intact. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the toe to minimise discomfort. Our podiatrists will carefully lift and cut away the section of the nail that is causing the problem, ensuring that the nail bed and surrounding skin remain undisturbed. In some cases, a chemical may be applied to the nail matrix to prevent regrowth of the ingrown section. Following the procedure, our podiatrists will dress the toe and give you proper post-operative instructions.
Total Nail Avulsion (TNA):
As the name suggests, Total Nail Avulsion involves the complete removal of the affected nail, including both the ingrown portion and the healthy nail. This procedure is also performed under local anaesthesia to ensure a pain-free experience. The entire nail is carefully lifted and separated from the nail bed. This technique is typically used for more severe or recurring cases of ingrown toenails.
Both Partial Nail Avulsion and Total Nail Avulsion can be performed in any of our 3 podiatry clinics. Which surgery you require depends on the extent of the ingrown toenail, recurrence rate, and our podiatrists’ professional judgement. They will also give you a detailed post-operative plan so that you recover well.
If you are unsure of what stretches to perform, when and how to do them, or if you experience any discomfort while stretching, our podiatrists are here to help. With years of experience in sports podiatry, and being athletes themselves, our podiatrists can develop a personalised stretching program tailored to suit your specific winter sport and individual needs so that you gain the maximum benefit – and minimise the risk of injury. Contact us today so that you can stay free from injury on the sports field!
Tips to prevent Ingrown Toenails
Proper Nail Trimming
Trim your nails straight across, avoiding rounded or excessively short cuts. Be cautious not to dig into the corners, as this can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.
Wear well-fitting shoes with enough room for your toes to move freely. Avoid tight, narrow shoes that squeeze your toes together, as they can increase the risk of ingrown toenails. Opt for breathable materials and shoes with a wider toe box.
Maintain Good Foot Hygiene
Keep your feet clean and dry, paying attention to the areas around your toenails. Regularly wash your feet, and thoroughly dry them, especially between the toes, to prevent moisture buildup that can contribute to ingrown toenails.
Protect Your Feet
If you participate in activities that may expose your toes to trauma or injury, such as sports or heavy manual work, wear protective footwear or toe guards to minimise the risk of nail damage
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can put additional pressure on your feet and toes, increasing the likelihood of developing ingrown toenails. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce this risk.
Winter is the perfect time to have ingrown toenail surgery since it gives you ample healing time. The slower pace of the season means fewer outdoor activities, giving your feet the rest they deserve. With cooler temperatures and less exposure to bacteria and sweat, your feet have a better chance to heal without any nasty surprises.
Winter is the perfect time to kick those toe troubles to the curb with ingrown toenail surgery. Get relief from the pain and discomfort that ingrown toenails cause. Reach out to our friendly podiatry team today and schedule your ingrown toenail surgery now.