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Shoes & Ingrown Toenails – What’s The Link?

If you aren’t already aware: tight, narrow and poorly-fitting footwear is a major cause of ingrown toenails for young and old alike. Other major causes include:


  • Improper nail cutting technique (curving the sides of the nail or ‘picking’ the nails off instead of cutting them
  • Genetic predisposition (the shape of the toenail or the thickness of the skin surrounding the nail)
  • Damage to the nail (dropping something on the nail or stubbing your toe)


But WHY and HOW do shoes cause ingrown toenails?

It’s pretty simple really:


1. Your foot and toes are crammed into a shoe that is too tight or narrow

2. The pressure on the side of your big toe pushes the skin on the sides of the nail into the nail

3. The close proximity of the skin and nails means that the nail pierces the skin

4. Ouch! Pain, swelling, redness (and sometimes a little bleeding)

5. The swelling means that the nail and skin are now in even closer proximity and the nail will continue to push into the skin

6. As long as there is the ‘cut’ (open wound), the toe is vulnerable to infection

7. An infection will cause further swelling and pain, making it even worse

8. The cut where the nail pierced the skin will not be able to heal until the nail is no longer present in the skin


Makes sense, right?

Now let’s quickly touch back on all-important point number 8. If any part of the nail continues to penetrate the nail – or even move inside when you take a step and push your toes against the ground – then it won’t be able to heal or ‘go away its own’.


That’s why it’s so important to have the nail effectively treated to make sure the nail spicule is removed so that the healing process can begin. Until the wound closes, it stays vulnerable to picking up an infection which is a big no-no and can put you at risk of serious (and painful) complications.




Let us help you!

This is where we come in! We’ll remove your painful nail spicule, look at what the cause of your ingrown toenail was and how we can get it to not come back in the future. Yay! We see so many ingrown toenails every day that this has become our specialty and we make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.



You can get in touch with our team by calling 09 523 2333. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also book in online by clicking here. And in the meantime, if you’re prone to getting ingrown toenails, please be mindful of wearing tight, narrow or ill-fitting footwear and just stay clear of it!


     – The Auckland Ingrown Toenail Team



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Hanan Kane

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