Ingrown nails – solutions you need to know

What can I do to prevent ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails can really affect your day-to-day mobility, activities and enjoyment.

An ingrown nail usually affects the big toe, causing redness, warmth and swelling, although it can also occur in other toes as well. This condition occurs when your nail grows into your skin tissue, irritating and inflaming the skin and possibly opening the door to infection. As the nail cuts into your skin, it can irritate the nerves and can trigger shooting pains. Even though it may seem like a small issue, it can really affect your day-to-day mobility, activities and enjoyment.

Causes and associations

You may not realize that poor nail trimming technique and tight or narrow-fitting shoes are the most frequent causes of ingrown nails. When caring for your nails, it is important to cut straight across the nail and avoid leaving a curve at the side edges of the nail. Cut your nails frequently and leave some nail to overhang slightly; that is, if they are too short or too long, they can tend to grow inward. When choosing your foot wear, make sure there is enough room in the toe area.

There are many other factors that predispose you to develop an ingrown nail: repeated foot trauma or injuries, excessive foot sweating, fungal nail or other foot problems, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

Ingrown nail treatment options

Surgery can be avoided with proper ongoing care. A chiropodist has the expertise to guide you for the treatment that best suits the situation. If your nail is mildly ingrown, the chiropodist can trim the nail and lift the free edge gently and support it with sterile cotton until the swelling reduces. Alternatively, for more advanced situations, a minor surgery can be done to remove part of, or the entire nail. Women often appreciate partial nail removal, to allow them to keep the nail. Chiropodists are experts at these procedures and can assure the problem does not recur.

Ujala is a certified chiropodist who graduated with a B.A. from McMaster University in Biological Anthropology and then went on to attend The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences where she received her advanced diploma of Health Sciences in Podiatric Medicine.   In good standing with the College of Chiropodist of Ontario, she possesses clinical experience in both private practice and public health. In 2011, Ujala completed the International Interprofessional Wound Care Course through the University of Toronto and is now a certified wound care specialist. 

Ujala practices at Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Milton and Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Cambridge where she offers a variety of foot care services that include general foot care, custom orthotics and orthopaedic shoes, diabetic foot care, wound care, warts and fungal infections, ingrown toenails, various surgical procedures, compression stockings, and more