The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting the nail incorrectly. Creating sharp corners, trimming too closely to the underlying skin, or leaving outer edges with a ragged finish is an invitation for trouble.
Other contributors to the condition are accidental bangs and bashes, an incorrect walking action, taking up pursuits and exercise that create unusual or additional strains on the foot and - of course - too-tight shoes. Sportsmen, particularly footballers can be prone to the condition, because of the small boots, impact with the ball and sweaty feet.
Pain, unfortunately, is often the first sign of an ingrown nail problem. Developing symptoms may include spreading soreness, redness and abrasion around the affected area, plus the possible discharge of blood.
If not treated, the site can frequently become inflamed, swollen and prone to infection. And, once an infection takes hold, you're likely to feel the discomfort whether you're standing, walking or simply sitting.
When you consult a podiatrist about an ingrown nail - particularly if the site is swollen or showing signs of infection - they will most likely clean the area, trim the nail with specialist, sterile equipment and apply antiseptic lotions and clean dressings. If an infection is evident, antibiotics may also be prescribed.
In recurrent cases it may be advisable to have a minor procedure to remove the offending side of the nail. This is performed under local anaesthetic and the cells responsible for making that section of the nail are destroyed through the use of a chemical. It is a painless treatment that results in a permanent cure for persistent ingrown toenails.
Post treatment you should be extra gentle when cleaning and drying the feet. A (warm) salt-water foot-soak is relaxing and a good way of preventing potential infection. Wear your most comfortable shoes and dress the wound with clean padding.
Scholl Foam Toe Protectors cushion and protect tender areas on toes, giving immediate relief from painful pressure.
If close cutting can’t release the speck or fluff, use a cotton bud soaked in surgical spirit on the affected area. If your toenails are hard - and therefore hard to cut - a warm bath beforehand will help soften them. Scholl Toenail Softening Solution softens hard or sharp toenails, making them easier to cut and reducing any associated discomfort.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist or healthcare assistant for advice or if you have an underlying medical condition, are taking any other medication or complementary therapy, or if symptoms persist.
Also seek advice on footcare if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or suffer from diabetes or allergies