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7 Ingrown Toenails Myths Debunked

Physio&SoleClinic Ingrown Toenail, Podiatry April 4 2017

An ingrown toenail occurs when the sharp corner of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. If it is not treated promptly, it can cause pain, redness, swelling and possibly infection. Here are some myths that patients commonly associate with ingrown toenails.

Myth 1: Ingrown toenails only happen to people with weird nail shapes.

Myth debunked: Ingrown toenails do not only happen to people with a broad nail or a nail that is curled in at the edges. Other factors contributing to the development of an ingrown toenail may include poor nail cutting technique, wearing tight shoes, having sweaty feet, stubbing your toe or having a fungal toenail.

Myth 2: Ingrown toenails develop on the big toes only

Myth debunked: Any of the toenails can develop ingrowing but the big toes are the most commonly affected. If the 2nd toe is the longest toe and footwear is too tight, it can cause the toe to hit against the front of the shoe and develop into an ingrown toenail.

Myth 3: Young children do not get ingrown toenails.

Myth debunked: Ingrown toenails may happen to anyone from young children to the elderly. In fact, our clinic frequently attends to young boys playing football who developed ingrown toenails due to repetitive pressure against the toe. Adolescents tend to have sweaty feet, causing the surrounding skin to be soft and a protruding nail can easily pierce the skin.

Myth 4: As long as I cut down the edges of my nails, ingrown toenails will never happen to me.

Myth debunked: Without cutting your nail edges with the proper tools, there is a high chance that a sharp nail edge may be left behind, causing an ingrown toenail. Cutting down the edges may also cause the skin to grow over the nail edge, thus causing the nail to pierce the skin when it grows longer. One should always trim the nails straight across to prevent ingrowing nails.

Myth 5: Ingrown toenails can be treated by just applying medicine such as antibiotic cream or traditional chinese medicine.

Myth debunked: Applying medicine may help to prevent infection. However, if the ingrown nail edge is not removed, the pain and swelling will persist.

Myth 6: The only way to treat an ingrown toenail is to have the whole nail removed by the Doctor.

Myth debunked: Ouch! But no! Depending on the extent of the ingrowing nail, a total nail avulsion (removal of entire nail) may not be warranted. An experienced Podiatrist will be able to use special tools to remove the small part of the nail that is cutting into the skin without causing further injury to the surrounding area. Any dead skin at the sides of the nail will be cleared and the nail edge will be filed down to ensure there are no sharp edges left behind.

Myth 7: Ingrown toenail treatment is always painful and scary!

Myth debunked: If the offending nail edge is embedded too deeply into the skin and the pain is intolerable, a local anaesthetic can be applied to numb the toe first. A skilled Podiatrist will be able to clear the ingrowing nail with minimal pain and injury to the area. In fact, our patients leave the clinic with the original pain much relieved once the ingrown nail is cleared.

Do not continue suffering from ingrown toenail! Drop us a note to find out how we can help you!

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