FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics

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Ingrown Toenails Treatment Cairns

Ingrown toenails treatment Cairns is available at all our FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics. Ingrown toenails, otherwise known as onychocryptosis, can be a very painful condition. It may range from only mild discomfort and pressure around the nail edge and nail border, to excruciating and debilitatingly painful, with varying degrees of infection present. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of a nail digs into the skin and tissue along the side of a nail plate. It can occur in any toenail but is most commonly seen affecting the big toenail. This pressure can irritate the sulcus and cause a localised swelling or inflammatory response, that can often exacerbate symptoms. If the nail edge is sharp and happens to break the skin dirt and bacteria can enter the body and may lead to an infection.

What Are The Symptoms Of An Ingrown Toenail?

When patients present at our clinics, seeking effective Cairns ingrown toenails treatment, they often have one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Pain at the site where the nail edge is digging into the flesh of the toe.
  • Swelling or inflammation around the offending edge of nail. This can either be mild or very pronounced.
  • Fluid or exudate that may weep or discharge from around the ingrown nail edge. The fluid or exudate may be clear, discoloured, fluid or dry and scaly in texture.
  • Rubour (redness) around the site. This can range from a light shade of red or pink to very dark and crimson in colour.
  • Odour (smell) indicates a degree of infection.

Diagnosis of Ingrown Toenails & Treatment Cairns

At your initial appointment for Cairns ingrown toenails treatment, one of our Podiatrists will be able to make a very quick and straightforward diagnosis. The podiatrist will be able to assess and treat within the same consultation. A short and long-term treatment plan will be discussed for the most appropriate management of the condition, moving forward.

What Are The Options For Ingrown Toenails Treatment Cairns?

Professional, ingrown toenail treatment Cairns consists of either conservative or non-conservative options. These are as follows.

Conservative Treatment

This involves the reduction and remodelling of the nail plate (sometimes performed with the aid of a local anaesthetic) to remove the offending nail edge. Conservative treatment is most effective when the ingrown nail is treated early, before any considerable inflammation and swelling has developed. Often this is a regular ongoing approach, whereby patients will come in for treatment every 2-3 months or as required. Some patients are lucky and may never have an ingrown toenail again, after the initial treatment.

Non-conservative Treatment (or Surgical Approaches)

This includes nail wedge resection and total nail avulsion. Surgery is performed under local anaesthesia and the portion of nail that is growing into the sulcus is removed. A chemical called phenol is then administered down the side where the nail was to produce a chemical sterilisation of the nail matrix (nail cells) so the nail does not regrow and potentially cause a problem again. Nail surgery is intended to be a long-term treatment for recurring problematic ingrown toenails and generally 45minutes to 1 hour is allowed for the procedure. It has a success rate of 95%.

How Long Will Ingrown Toenails Take To Get Better?

When we provide either conservative or non-conservative Cairns ingrown toenail treatment, relief from the pain of an ingrown toenail is usually instant. As soon as the pressure from the nail digging into the tissue is removed, the swelling comes down and the pain resolves very rapidly.
When nail surgery is performed, healing of the surgical site generally takes between 2-3 weeks for compete healing. Sometimes a course of oral antibiotics may be needed to treat infection (either pre or post surgery) and this may prolong healing by a week or two at the most.

Why Did I Get An Ingrown Toenail & How Can I Avoid Them?

Ingrown toenails are a very common foot condition seen in both children and adults alike. The cause(s) of ingrown toenails are numerous and can involve one or more of the following:

  • Poor footwear fit and choice of footwear. Shoes that are too narrow or shallow across the forefoot can increase pressure against the toes and nails and cause the nail to dig into the skin. Shoes that do not hold onto the feet well and have limited or no fastening mechanisms can allow movement and slipping of the feet, which in turn can lead to nail trauma and digging in of the nail edge.
  • Inappropriate cutting of the toenails. Cutting down into the sides or corners of the nails can leave sharp serrated edges or spikes that can irritate or break the skin barrier, leading to inflammation and potentially infection. Trying to cut straight across the top of the nails, following the nail bed and rounding the corners slightly to take off any sharp edges is the general recommendation.
  • Picking or biting of the toenails. Picking and biting of the nails can lead to broken, frail, brittle nails and subsequent ingrown toenails as the irregular sharp nail growth digs into the skin. Picking and biting can be more of a habit that needs to broken and replaced by regular safe nail cutting practices.
  • Physical trauma. Physical trauma to the nails can come about via a variety of means. Poorly fitted footwear, inappropriate cutting and picking at the nails are all potential mechanisms. Different sports and the nature of the movements involved can also lead to increased nail trauma. Netball, basketball and soccer, for example, are sports frequently associated with and increased incidence of ingrown toenails.
  • Genetic predisposition. Certain traits such as the shape and curvature of the nail plates can definitely increase the risk of developing in ingrown toenail. Broad nail plates and heavily curved nail plates are at greater risk. Some individuals have more sweat glands in the feet and this higher rate of perspiration can also be associated with an increased risk of getting an ingrown toenail. This is largely attributed to more friction and slipping of the foot and digits in footwear.

Certain medical conditions increase the chances of developing an ingrown toenail.

  • Oedema – swelling in the lower limbs, feet and digits can put increased pressure on the nails and cause them to dig in.
  • Psoriasis – Psoriatic nails can present as crumbly, irregular, thickened, brittle and ridged, increasing the likelihood of nail digging into the skin of the toes.
  • Fungal nails (onychomycosis) – Fungal nail infections in a similar way to psoriasis can cause changes in the growth and appearance of nails. These changes such as thickening, brittleness and lifting from the nail bed can increase the likelihood of an ingrown toenail developing.