Ingrown nails

Ingrown nailsIngrown nails are a common nail condition. They are not specifically a running injury but are fairly common in sportsmen and sportswomen and in teenagers.There are a few possible causes. Shoe pressure on the nail may be the common one in runners. Incorrect cutting of the nail is what some people do and that also can cause it. I feel that some people also inherit ingrown nails. They don’t actually inherit the ingrown nail, they inherit the wider or more curled nail that is more likely to grow in.

A simple procedure, called a nail wedge resection,  will sort them out once and for all. You do not have to go through life with this totally curable problem.

The first part of treatment is to keep the area clean with some type of antiseptic cream and a dressing. Do not try to go in there and cut the nail out. This would be painful and probably not make it any better.

Secondly get to see your podiatrist to treat the nail. At first conservative treatment will be tried. If that does not help then a nail wedge resection may be performed.

What we do is inject some local anaesthetic around the base of the toe to numb it. We then remove the offending piece of nail and chemically destroy the base of it, so that it does not grow back.

When this heals up the ingrown will be gone forever. It is a very simple procedure, exceptionally simple and successful.

Also the nail does not have to be pulled out. If this is done the nail will reoccur and grow back and in again in a few months. If the nail is pulled out permanently then it cures the ingrown BUT leaves the toe without a nail for protection. This is not a good idea as it creates an ongoing problem.

Prevention is a good idea. Make sure the toe box of your shoe or running shoe is wide and deep enough to fit your forefoot and toes. Cut your toenails straight across and not down the sides. This cutting down the sides can be a cause for ingrown nails. The fact you have one ingrown nail will also make you more likely to get more on your other toes.

Look after your feet. You only get one pair for life.

This information and / advice is the opinion of the author in his capacity as a qualified and registered podiatrist.

The information and advice is meant as a guide only and is intended to be easily understandable to the lay person.

Anyone seeking health and/or medical advice is strongly advised to consult a qualified professional of their choice.  If you have any specific questions about any podiatric or medical matter or are in need of treatment you should consult your podiatrist, doctor, or other professional health care provider.