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Ingrown Toenail Not Healing?

Is your ingrown toenail not healing? Maybe you’ve been soaking it in Epsom salts, removed the nail yourself, had antibiotics to help treat it or have left it to get better on its own? No matter what you have tried, if you’ve had an ingrown toenail for over a week and the pain is still going, it’s time to seek professional support. Here’s an insight from our podiatrists about why your ingrown toenail may not be healing, and what you can do about it. 


Why Is My Ingrown Nail Not Getting Better?

You still have a piece of nail left piercing the skin

If you have ‘fixed’ your ingrown toenail by removing the nail spicule that had grown into the skin, but the pain and symptoms aren’t getting any better, then it is highly likely that there is still some nail left ingrown in the skin. Even if you saw a large piece of nail come out, there definitely can be more – even as podiatrists we’re often surprised when we remove a big piece of ingrown nail, have a quick check to ensure we’ve gotten it all, and find yet another piece of nail lodged in deep. Unfortunately, without the right tools, it can be very difficult to know if you really have removed all the nail or not – but if you’re still getting toe pain and ingrown nail symptoms, this can be a big sign.


You have a small corn where the nail had ingrown

Occasionally, when we examine the toe after removing the ingrown nail, we find a very small corn in the skin on the edge of the nail, usually at the top corner. This usually happens because as the nail was growing in, it was rubbing against the skin, leading to a corn. This is a corn is just a small specific area of hard skin that results from pressure or friction and. It can feel like a sharp splinter or pebble., Iso in this case, it’s the quick and easy to remove removal of the corn and it which can be done in a few minutes by our podiatrists, which that may finally give you that much needed relief.


The toe is infected

When a toenail pierces the skin and becomes ingrown, an open wound is created. Any open wound is vulnerable to infection – especially given the number of microorganisms down by ourout feet on the floor. The symptoms of an infection can be similar to that of an ingrown nail – swelling, redness and pain. You may also notice some clear or yellow discharge, or an unpleasant smell with an infection too.


Your treatment method didn’t fix the problem

Occasionally we see patients who have ‘treated’ their ingrown nail by using an Epsom salt bath, cutting a ‘V’ in the centre of the nail or another treatment method that doesn’t actually remove the painful nail spicule that has become embedded in the skin. The same applies to antibiotics – while antibioticsantibioitcs can help manage an infection which can be a source of pain and swelling in the toe, they don’t treat the problem – and until the ingrown nail is removed – the pain and symptoms will continue.


What Should You Do If Your Ingrown Nail Isn’t Getting Better?

If your ingrown nail isn’t getting better, it’s important to get down to the cause of the problem and understand why. You may need immediate treatment, so it’s important to get seen quickly by your podiatrist.


Here at the Auckland Ingrown Toenail Clinic, our experienced podiatrists will examine your toe and identify the likely cause of your ongoing pain. If some nail is still lodged in the toe, our podiatrists will quickly and effectively remove this for you during the appointment. If the toe is too painful, we have the option of using local anaesthetic to numb your toe. If a corn is present, we can also remove this painlessly at your appointment, given that the corn is simply hard dead skin. If you have an infection, our podiatrists can identify this, clean the toe and dress it with a sterile dressing, so it can stay safe while you get a course of antibiotics. If it’s somethingsoemthing else, our podiatrists will identify this and offer the best treatment to get you out of pain and back to doing the things you love.


If your ingrown nail has yet to be fully treated, we have a range of treatment options to safely and effectively treat your ingrown toenail – and keep it gone for good. We can help you by:


  1. Manually removing the nail spicule

We refer to this as conservative nail care as it doesn’t involve any ‘surgical’ aspects. We use simple and sterile podiatric tools to trim back and remove the small piece of the nail that has penetrated the skin.

  1. Permanently removing the nail spicule

Otherwise known as a partial nail avulsion, we class this as a minor surgical procedure as it involves numbing the toe with anaesthetic and then removing a small portion of the nail. What makes it permanent is that after the nail spicule is removed, we apply a chemical that destroys the nail growing cells in the one small section of nail, meaning that the nail edge won’t grow back.

  1. Removing the whole nail

Known as a total nail avulsion, this procedure involves the safe removal of the entire toenail. While this isn’t our go-to procedure for ingrown toenails, there are some circumstances that make it the best option for our patients, such as where both sides recurrently ingrow and there is a large curvature at the sides of the nail, or when the nail is also thickened or disfigured.


Ready To Finally Get That Ingrown Nail Sorted?

Our experienced podiatrists would love to help. Just book your appointment with us and we’ll get the nail sorted for you and get you back to pain-free walking. Book your appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online


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Hanan Kane

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