Ingrown Toenails

By Waitakere Foot / 24 November 2021 / Education General Podiatry Ingrown Toenail

Are you tired of your toenails digging into your skin and causing painful infections?
An ingrown toenail is a common cause of pain or discomfort on the foot and Podiatrists are specialised medical professionals who are able to offer multiple solutions for anyone who is suffering with this.

How does an ingrown toenail happen?

There are many causes

for an ingrown toenail, the most common being trauma and incorrect nail cutting technique. Any damage to the nail or toe can cause an ingrown toenail. A few examples of trauma are:

  • A dumbbell drops onto your big toe and the skin swells up around the nail, the nail can then begin digging into the skin and cause a trauma induced ingrown.
  • Repeatedly kicking a football with the edges of the toes and the nail slowly begins to push into the sides of the skin.
  • Friction and pressure from wearing shoes that are too tight, causing the skin to rub up against the edges of the nail.
  • Incorrect nail cutting includes cutting down the side of your nail or cutting the nail too short. It also includes ripping nails off instead of cutting.

Incorrect nail cutting technique is very common. We understand it’s hard to reach your toenails and the angle we cut our own toenails can be tricky. If your vision is impaired, have diabetes, are on blood thinners or just simply are unable to reach then do not try to cut your own toenails, that is what we are here for. The correct technique is to cut straight across the nail and never down the side.

What can we do to help?

  • Podiatrists are trained to correctly cut out nail spikes with medical instruments which have been sterilized. We can then re-shape the nail so the edges are smooth and should not dig into the skin again.
  • We can also provide education around managing infections and refer to your GP for antibiotics if needed.
  • We teach correct cutting technique and review with you diligently until the issue has been resolved.

In some cases, surgical intervention may be required. We can perform this minor procedure in our clinics under local anesthetic. The majority of people are able to return to work or school the next day as long as they can wear open toe shoes. Open toe shoes are important for a few days after surgery as we do not want to compress the surgical site too much. Surgeries can be done privately or under ACC depending on the mechanism of injury.

Give us a call to discuss your options if you have a painful toe! In most cases we can resolve your issue without surgery!