You know we expect an awful lot from our feet. We walk, run and jump on them. We cram them into socks and shoes. We use them to stand a little taller. We subject them to sand, rocks and heaven knows what hazards they endure while walking barefoot in our homes. Then we complain bitterly when they hurt. Makes sense to me.
Want to talk about foot pain? Talk about an ingrown toenail. Also known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnatus (I dare you to pronounce those words) an ingrown toenail occurs when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the skin at the end or side of the toe. Although it can happen to any toe, it’s most likely to be your big toe.
An ingrown toenail can be the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.
The most common cause of ingrown toenails is incorrect trimming. Cutting your nails too short encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail. Another cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that are tight or short. Certain nail conditions are often associated with ingrown toenails. For example, if you have had a toenail fungal infection or if you have lost a nail through trauma, you are at greater risk for developing an ingrown toenail.
Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
If you don’t have an infection or any medical conditions that may affect your healing, you can soak your foot in room-temperature water with Epsom salts, and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help irrigate the area.
Avoid attempting “bathroom surgery.” Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, make an appointment with The Podiatrist.
Home treatment is strongly discouraged if you suspect you have an infection, or if you have a medical condition that puts your feet at high risk, for example diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by following these two important tips:
•Trim your nails properly. Cut your toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
•Avoid poorly-fitting shoes. Don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe box. Also avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when you run or walk briskly.
Myth Busting – Ingrown Toenails!
Myth: Cutting a “V” in the nail will reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward.
Truth: Cutting a “V” does not affect the growth of the toenail. New nail growth occurs from the nail bed and will continue to grow in whatever shape the nail bed is in.
Myth: Repeated trimming of the nail borders is a good way to treat ingrown toenails.
Truth: Repeated nail trimming fails to correct future nail growth and can make the condition worse.
Myth: Cotton placed under the nail will relieve the pain.
Truth: Cotton placed under the nail can be harmful. It can easily harbour bacteria and encourage infection.
Myth: You can buy effective ingrown toenail treatments at the Pharmacy or Chemist.
Truth: Over-the-counter topical medications may mask the pain, but they fail to address the underlying problem.
Get started on resolving your foot problem today.
Visit The Podiatrist for all your foot care needs
Some tips to help prevent your child from getting painful foot problem | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. An ingrown nail can break the skin and lead to dangerous infections.
The Podiatrist says that tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming are the most common causes. In others, the children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.
Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short.
Make sure children’s shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child’s foot.
If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, reduce the inflammation by soaking the child’s foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.
The only proper way to treat a child’s ingrown toenail is with a visit to The Podiatrist.
Parents should not try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous “bathroom surgeries” carry a high risk of infection.
For all your child’s foot care needs, visit The Podiatrist.
Corns and calluses on the feet are thickened areas of skin that can become painful. They are caused by excessive pressure or rubbing (friction) on the skin. The common cause is poorly fitting shoes.
A person who is qualified to diagnose and treat foot disorders (a podiatrist) can cut away (pare) corns and calluses and can advise on footwear, shoe insoles and padding to prevent recurrences.
A corn is a small area of skin which has become thickened due to pressure on it. A corn is roughly round in shape. Corns press into the deeper layers of skin and can be painful.
Hard corns commonly occur on the top of the smaller toes or on the outer side of the little toe. These are the areas where poorly fitted shoes tend to rub most.
Soft corns sometimes form in between the toes, most commonly between the fourth and fifth toes. These are softer because the sweat between the toes keeps them moist. Soft corns can sometimes become infected.
A callus is larger and broader than a corn and has a less well-defined edge. These tend to form on the underside of your foot (the sole). They commonly form over the bony area just underneath your toes. This area can take much of your weight when you walk. They are usually painless but painful.
What causes corns and calluses?
The small bone of the toes and feet are broader and lumpier near to the small joints of the toes. If there is extra rubbing (friction) or pressure on the skin overlying a small rough area of bone, this will cause the skin to thicken. This may lead to corns or calluses forming.
The common causes of rubbing and pressure are tight or poorly fitting shoes which tend to cause corns on the top of the toes and side of the little toe. Also, too much walking or running which tends to cause calluses on the sole of the feet. Corns and calluses are more likely to develop if you have very prominent bony toes, thin skin, or any deformities of the toes or feet which cause the skin to rub more easily inside shoes.
What are the treatments for corns and calluses?
If you develop a painful corn or callus it is best to get expert advice from a person qualified to diagnose and treat foot disorders-see The Podiatrist (a podiatrist – previously called a chiropodist). You should not cut corns yourself, especially if you are elderly or have diabetes.
Trimming (paring down):
The thickened skin of a corn or callus will be pared down by The Podiatrist by using a scalpel blade. The pain is usually much reduced as the corn or callus is pared down and the pressure on the underlying tissues eased. Sometimes, repeated or regular trimming sessions are needed. Once a corn or callus has been pared down, it may not return if you use good footwear.
See The Podiatrist for all your foot problems.