Ingrown toenail….no walk in the park

Nothing can hurt quite like an ingrown toenail. Ask anyone who’s ever had one. So what is an ingrown toenail exactly? It’s a toenail that goes rogue and instead of growing straight, it becomes ‘ingrown’. This happens when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the side of the toe at the end of, or at the side of a toe — it can happen to any toe, but is most common in the big toe. The medical term is onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates, but whatever you call it, it causes pain and inflammation at the spot where the nail curls into the skin.

My best advice if you have one is: Don’t Tough it Out. While it’s admirable to be stoic, and hope things will improve on their own, don’t — the inflamed area can begin to grow extra tissue, become infected and/or drain a yellowish fluid. Who’d want that?

My second best piece of advice is: Know The Causes So You Can Minimize The Risk

  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes or high heels compresses toes. This pressures the nail to grow abnormally. You don’t have to give up great style and become a fashion dud – just make sure you’re getting a comfortable fit as well.
  • Improper trimming can cause the corners of the nail to dig into and break the skin. Avoid cutting a “V” in the nail to relieve pressure. It’s tempting to want to do this when your foot hurts — nails should be cut straight across, not rounded to avoid or solve the problem.
  • Fungal infections can cause a nail to thicken or widen.
  • Injuries are also culprits — either an acute injury near the nail or the kind of repetitive damage one gets from playing a sport like soccer.
  • Genetics plays a role. If one of your family members has experienced problems with ingrown nails, you’ll be more prone to them. Why? Because genetics dictates such things as foot/toe structure and thickness and shape of the nail plate. You don’t just inherit the colour of your parents’ eyes.
  • Finally, there’s the luck of the draw. You might just be one of those people whose nails are more naturally rounded than others.

The good news is that there are a range of treatment options.

  • Routine care by a foot specialist — if you’re predisposed to ingrown nails this is the route to go for advice, education, and remedies.
  • Until you can get to your MD or foot specialist, daily saline soaks will calm down the affected area.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed depending on the severity.
  • A permanent solution is a partial nail removal. The chiropodist removes the side of the nail causing the problem and kills the root in that section, but he or she leaves the rest of the nail intact. This is done under a local anaesthetic in the chiropodist’s office and takes only about an hour. That’s not much time to give up for pain-free living.

Visit our website at for information on ingrown nail treatments or call today to book a personal assessment at 905-332-6542.

After all, life should be a walk in the park!