Three biggest mistakes made with ingrown toenails!!!

November 7, 2018

Have you ever suffered with the pain of an ingrown toenail and wondered what the best steps are to solve the problem?

Ingrown nails are the most commonly occurring nail problem presenting to Podiatrist and Gp’s

They can often be quite crippling and if left for long periods with festering infections can often affect your overall health. Getting early intervention with the right treatments has a big impact on having a successful outcome.

“It is often the case that we get  patients presenting after long periods of antibiotic treatment. If nothing else we would love people to realize that antibiotics on there own will rarely resolve the problem”

If you’ve ever wanted to know what is the right way to avoid ongoing issues with ingrown nails, then keep reading knowing these three mistakes can save you a lot of pain.

So What are the three biggest mistakes with ingrown toenails? Well anybody who has had one of these will tell you that it can be utter agony. Wearing shoes is a nightmare. Walking distances is torture and if somebody treads on your foot, you should not be held responsible for what follows.

So the number one mistake is…..Picking or Cutting down the side of the nail yourself.

For the time being I will leave alone that fact that you would have to be a contortionist to get your self into any sort of position to be able see what you are cutting or picking at, ingrown nails are not always caused by a spike from the nail. Sometimes it can just be pressure from shoes or from the way you are walking that can cause the irritation. So when you go down there trying to cut out bits of the nail quite often you can, create a nail spike, cut the side of the toe further or unnecessarily narrow the nail compounding the original problem and making things much worse. ( Even if they feel better in the short term).

The second mistake is…..Leaving them open top the air.

Once the skin in the  side of the toe has a cut in it, leaving the wound open to the air and walking around with it exposed can increase the risk of picking up a bug that can lead to a rather nasty infection. While this may seem counter intuitive to some people who feel that the toes is wet and weepy, one of the best first line defenses is a dry dressing ( not a water proof one or moist wound healing one) with an antiseptic such as betadine. This will do three things it will reduce the risk of infection, kill off any bugs you may already have and help to dry out the wound.

The Third Biggest mistake is …..Put them in your shoe and hope they go away.

Often we see people with severely infected toes either get so used to the pain and discomfort they just ignore it or going on cycle after cycle of oral antibiotics with out making any changes to the cause or seeking any treatment to break the cycle. As long as this goes on YOUR INGROWN NAIL WILL NOT GO AWAY. ( I just needed to make sure you heard that).

Most ingrown nails will require intervention of some description. The only one that may resolve of its own accord is a fist time irritation that is just that an irritation. it way get red and sore but it does not break the skin does not get infected and is not reoccurring. Any other type of ingrown nail needs help.


Some common causes are:

  • Unusually curved or thickened toenails -This may be hereditary (blame mum or dad) or from repeated trauma.
  • Incorrect cutting – this can leave spicules or splinters of nail which press into the surrounding skin
  • Picking at toenails – this can also leave rough, jagged edges.
  • Age – Adolescent feet sweat excessively and this softens the skin that surrounds the nail
  • Traumatic injury – a blow to the nail can result in it penetrating the surrounding skin.
  • Compression of the nail into the surrounding skin – This can be from wearing shoes that crowd your toenails or from sporting activities

Treatment for ingrown toenails is available, and varies depending on the severity, duration and shape of your nails.

  •  General treatment – The podiatrist can perform routine nail cutting that removes the offending piece of nail and frees up the nail edge.
  • Nail Packing – The nail is packed with a packing material to change the shape of the nail and encourage better growth of the nail as it grows.
  • Surgery – after the toe has been anaesthetised by injection the ingrown portion of the nail is removed along with the nail root. A chemical is then applied to inhibit further growth. Only the straight portion of the nail will continue to grow, resulting in a narrower, normal appearing nail with no pain.

Thankfully, the fear of tight footwear and long walks can be a thing of the past. If you’re fed up with your ingrown toenail, come in for an appointment and one of our podiatrists can asses your nail and provide information on the best treatment for you, and if possible start the treatment that day.

Phone (07) 4646 2016 to make a booking or click here to make an online booking.