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An ingrown toenail occurs when part of the nail punctures the surrounding flesh, creating a wound. This can cause pain and discomfort, and even lead to an infection. It is important to understand that once an ingrown toenail has set in, it is highly unlikely to self-resolve. Medications such as antibiotics or antiseptic ointments can only contain the infection. This is because the problem will persist as long as the protruding nail spike is still sitting in the surrounding flesh. 

In this article, our podiatrist covers the causes of ingrown toenails, podiatry treatment methods and 4 tips on how to prevent them.

Causes of Ingrown Toenail

  • Ingrown toenails are generally caused by the way your nails are trimmed, or by the inherent shape of your nail
  • Individuals with toenails that are significantly curved (i.e involuted nails), or very wide nail plates, are at high risk of developing this issue. If not appropriately managed, it can lead to recurrent ingrown toenails. 
  • Other common causes include:
    • Trauma to the toenail (e.g getting stepped on, dropping object on toenail)
    • Cutting toenails in curved, “rainbow-shaped” manner
    • Wearing tight fitting shoes that crowd the toenails 
    • Fungal toenail infection that cause a thickened and curved toenail 

What can be done when you have an ingrown toenail?

  • Mild ingrown toenails can be managed conservatively by removing the offending nail spike and allowing the site to recover. 
  • However, it is essential that the removal of the offending nail spike be done with proper technique and equipment to prevent worsening or complications. 
  • With proper maintenance and care, there is a good chance that the ingrown toenail will not recur. 
  • If the mild ingrown toenail does not resolve, or worsens, it is important to seek timely advice from your podiatrist for suitable treatment options. 

Podiatry Treatment Methods

At Podiatry Quest, we offer two methods for ingrown toenail treatment

1) Use of Onyfix nail correction system

Onyfix nail bracing. Pain-free and non-invasive way to treat ingrown toenails!

Onyfix is a revolutionary product that enables completely painless treatment of involuted and ingrown toenails. It is designed to correct the curvature of the toenail and alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with an ingrown toenail. 

2) A minimally invasive procedure

Ingrown toenails can be resolved by performing a minimally invasive procedure to remove the toenail partially followed by chemical application to prevent regrowth. This procedure is known as a partial nail avulsion with chemical matrixectomy. It is a quick, painless and clinically proven procedure, commonly performed for recurrent ingrown toenail issues. 

4 tips to prevent an ingrown toenail and its recurrence

Ensuring that you use good nail-cutting techniques, using good footwear, and keeping good foot hygiene are three simple yet important strategies that you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing ingrown toenails. 

1. Cut your toenails straight and flat across. File edges down if needed

Always trim your nails straight across and not curved

Always cut your nails straight across. Avoid digging into the sides of your nails as this will cause the nails to curve and become ingrown when it grows out. File the edges down if needed. Additionally, refrain from cutting your nails too short. 

2. Don’t pluck or pick at your nails 

The skin around your nails provides a natural barrier against bacteria and germs. Avoid picking and plucking your nails as this will compromise this protective barrier, increasing the risk of an infection.

3. Wear appropriately fitted shoes with sufficient toebox room 

Tight shoes that press your toes together can push the toe flesh into the nail and hence cause an ingrown toenail. Always wear shoes that have a wide toe box. The space between the longest toe to the end of the shoe should be one thumb’s width. 

4. Keep your feet and nails clean and dry 

Prolonged exposure to moisture and sweat can reduce the integrity of the skin surrounding your nails increasing the risk of ingrown toenails and infections. Maintain good personal foot hygiene by keeping your feet and nails clean and dry. Inspect your foot and nails routinely for any changes (e.g swelling, discolourations, splitting, lifting). If such changes are present, it is important to consult your podiatrist to prevent worsening. 

When should I see a Podiatrist for Ingrown Toenails?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If you have discomfort in your nails, it is better to see a podiatrist who can appropriately manage your toenails and teach you how to do so to prevent future recurrence. It is also easier and less painful to treat an ingrown toenail sooner rather than later so seeking timely treatment is essential. If you are experiencing an ingrown toenail, foot pain or other foot-related conditions, book an appointment with our podiatrist to get it treated!

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Podiatry Quest – Holland Grove

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Bus 92 from Bouna Vista MRT

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Tuesday: 2pm – 6pm
Wednesday: 9am – 6pm
Thursday: 9am – 6pm
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Saturday: 1pm-5pm (alternate weeks)
Sunday: Closed

Podiatry Quest – Novena

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We are at Novena Square, just at the lift landing on level 3

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Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: closed
Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 9am – 1pm (alternate weeks)
Sunday: Closed

Podiatry Quest – Harbourfront

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Lift lobby B provides easiest access to us

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Tuesday: 9am – 1pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: Closed
Friday: Closed
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

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