Ingrown toenails are painful and frustrating enough, so the last thing you want is to add an infection to the mix. Unfortunately, in our experience, a large number of ingrown toenails will get infected if proper treatment is undertaken – and it makes sense when you think about it.
Today, our ingrown toenail specialists will be sharing:
- Why the risk of developing an infection once you have an ingrown toenail is high
- What you can do to prevent an infection before it develops
- How you can treat your ingrown toenail and infection once it has occurred
You Have A Significant Risk Of Developing An Infection. Here’s Why
Let’s clear something up: ingrown toenails and infections are not a case of the chicken and the egg – the ingrown toenail comes first.
What classifies a sore toe as an ‘ingrown toenail’ is the moment that the sharp piece of nail goes from merely pushing against the surrounding skin, to actually piercing it and penetrating it.
Think about that for a second – you have a piece of nail that is now constantly inside the skin through a cut down the side of the nail. Every time you walk and move, it’ll move slightly with vibrations of pressures from shoes and socks. Ouch! This also means that while a normal cut occurs and then can heal, this cut can’t – because the ingrown toenail is still constantly piercing it and so keeping the cut open.
An infection occurs when bacteria and other nasties enter the body. Usually, our skin is a fantastic barrier, so while there may be many nasties around us regularly, they never have an ‘in’. Until now. And especially at the ground where you may walk barefooted. And when you give it a perfectly placed entrance – there’s a strong chance that the infection will take hold and start to develop.
Once the infection takes hold, it means increased swelling, pain and oozy discharge (and maybe blood) that is yellow/green/clear in nature and may ‘crust over’.
Preventing An Infection From Your Ingrown Toenail Before It Develops
So how, then, can we prevent – or at least reduce the risk – of developing an infection? It’s quite simple, really. And no – no Epsom salts required just yet!
As the cut from ingrown toenail creates an ‘in’ for the bacteria to take hold, the way to prevent an infection is to remove this ‘in’. This means removing the penetrating nail edge so that the cut can heal, close, and no longer be vulnerable to the infection. Simple, right? – Absolutely.
So How Do I Treat My Ingrown Toenail – And The Infection If I Already Have One?
The best way to ensure the proper care of your ingrown toenail is to see your Podiatrist. Our team here at the Ingrown Toenail Clinic are Podiatrists that are trained in simple and painless ingrown toenail surgeries, as well as conservative care where we safely remove that small, pesky nail edge in a matter of minutes. You’ll feel the relief almost instantly!
We don’t recommend trying to cut back the nail at home because often the nail runs much deeper than you can see, so most people will miss removing the complete penetrating edge and their pain will only continue to worsen. You also won’t have the right tools for the job – whereas we have everything needed to do it quickly and easily – even anaesthetic if you need or want it! (though most people don’t).
Once the sliver of nail is removed, the body will be able to effectively heal the wound and fight the infection – and of course, we’ll help it along by dressing it with betadine (antiseptic). You’re welcome to soak it in some Epsom salts too – but once the nail is out, it should be relatively simple and straightforward for it to heal and the infection to subside.
No more painful, swollen discharge – hooray!
Auckland’s Ingrown Toenail Experts
We’re proud to be Auckland’s only Podiatry clinic that specialises in the safe and effective care of ingrown toenails – and we do a really good job of it. From simple and easy care to quickly remove the small nail edge, to minor nail surgery to permanently correct ingrown toenails, we’ve got you covered.
You can book online here or give us a call on (09) 523 2333.