Ingrown Toenails

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Published: 13th December 2010
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What is an ingrown toenail?



An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail irritates and or penetrates the skin at the side of the nail. This can lead to pain, swelling, infection, discharge, and difficulty walking and wearing enclosed shoes. Ingrown toenails are a common condition afflicting people of all ages, including children.



What causes ingrown toenails?



There are many causes of ingrown toenails, including:



* unusually curved or thickened toenails, which are often hereditary;

* adolescence, during which feet tend to sweat excessively, causing the skin surrounding the toenails to soften and become easy for the nails to damage;

* traumatic injury, such as a blow to the toe or toenail, which can result in the nail penetrating the surrounding skin;

* wearing shoes that crowd your toenails, compressing the nails into the surrounding skin;

* cutting your toenails too short or tapering them in at the corners (picking at your toenails can also cause them to become ingrown). [Back to top]



How are ingrown toenails treated?



* General Treatment involves routine nail cutting to free up the nail edge, which is then cleaned with a sterile instrument and packed with lint-free swab. This method generally requires ongoing maintenance, depending on the shape of the toenail and the severity and duration of the condition.

* Surgery involves the removal of the offending portion of the toenail under local anaesthetic, and the application of a chemical to prevent the nail from re-growing. Healing usually takes four to six weeks, and a course of antibiotics may be required if an infection develops. Surgery is a last resort treatment which should only be pursued when an ingrown toenail fails to respond to more conservative care.

* Toenail Bracing is a revolutionary treatment recently introduced to Australia by Foot Health Clinic. It works in a similar way to dental braces, using the VHO Nail Brace.



VHO Curanail



What is the VHO Nail Brace?



The VHO Nail Brace is a fine, tensioned wire that is applied to the surface of the toenail, and then adjusted to gently lift the edges of the nail away from the skin. This significantly reduces the pressure that causes and perpetuates the ingrown toenail, and encourages the nail to grow in a healthier direction. The VHO Nail Brace requires no anaesthetic to apply, and is completely painless to wear.



What are the advantages of the VHO Nail Brace?



Successfully treating ingrown toenails can be difficult, because the affected toe is constantly weight bearing, often inside an enclosed shoe, and prone to infection. The VHO Curanail™ allows the toenail and underlying tissues to heal, while helping to prevent constant re-injury.



The VHO Nail Brace is preferable to surgery because it:



* requires no anaesthetic;

* requires no recovery period;

* eliminates the risk of infection;

* allows you to wear your existing shoes;

* allows you to carry on with your existing activities;

* is safe for children;

* is safe for people with diabetes and perpheral vascular disease;

* offers immediate relief from pain in many cases.



What should I do if I have an ingrown toenail?



If the skin around your toenail is red, swollen, bleeding or discharging, you may have an infection, and should seek treatment as soon as possible.



Foot Health Clinic offers a full range of solutions for ingrown toenails, from advice on correct nail cutting techniques to ingrown toenail surgery. We are also the leading Australian specialists in ingrown toenail bracing. Please contact us to discuss the most effective solution for you.

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