Ingrown nails – solutions you need to know

An ingrown nail usually affects the big toe, causing redness, warmth and swelling, although it can also occur in other toes as well. This condition occurs when your nail grows into your skin tissue, irritating and inflaming the skin and possibly opening the door to infection. As the nail cuts into your skin, it can irritate the nerves and can trigger shooting pains. Even though it may seem like a small issue, it can really affect your day-to-day mobility, activities and enjoyment.

Causes and associations:

You may not realize that poor nail trimming technique and tight or narrow-fitting shoes are the most frequent causes of ingrown nails. When caring for your nails, it is important to cut straight across the nail and avoid leaving a curve at the side edges of the nail. Cut your nails frequently and leave some nail to overhang slightly; that is, if they are too short or too long, they can tend to grow inward. When choosing your foot wear, make sure there is enough room in the toe area.

There are many other factors that predispose you to develop an ingrown nail: repeated foot trauma or injuries, excessive foot sweating, fungal nail or other foot problems, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

Ingrown nail treatment options: 

Surgery can be avoided with proper ongoing care. A chiropodist has the expertise to guide you for the treatment that best suits the situation. If your nail is mildly ingrown, the chiropodist can trim the nail and lift the free edge gently and support it with sterile cotton until the swelling reduces.

Alternatively, for more advanced situations, a minor surgery can be done to remove part of, or the entire nail. Women often appreciate partial nail removal, to allow them to keep the nail. Chiropodists are experts at these procedures and can assure the problem does not recur.

To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at

Understanding and dealing with a hammertoe on your foot

A hammertoe is a foot condition affecting the second, third, or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, causing it to resemble a hammer. The toe buckles due to abnormal contraction, from a partial or complete dislocation of one of the joints of the toe.

It is common that people who suffer from a hammertoe also develop painful corns on the top of the affected toe, where it rubs against the inside of the shoe. This pain may be resolved by adding extra cushioning, regularly trimming down the corn, or by choosing roomier shoes.

A hammertoe is caused by foot imbalances and heredity factors. Certainly wearing high heels aggravates the hammertoe since heels accentuate the contracted position of the hammertoe. Tight-fitting stockings can also aggravate the condition.

Your chiropodist will assess your feet and determine the cause of the hammertoe and make useful suggestions. Some suggestions may include making silicone toe pads which can reduce pressure, or using a custom orthotic to better support your foot, which will also slow down the buckling process in a hammertoe. If the hammertoe is caught early enough, the above conservative chiropody care is sufficient. However, if it is allowed to progress, then there will be more pain, calluses, inflammation, possibly infection and alteration of the bone structure. In these cases, surgery may be required.

For more information, or to arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at