What causes an ingrown toenail and how can it be treated?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows down into the side of the skin.  The area becomes very sensitive to the touch and can be very painful.  The area becomes red, inflamed, and in some cases some pus can be present.

There are a number of factors that can cause an ingrown nail.  These consist of improper cutting of the nail, tight fitting footwear, ripping of the nail instead of cutting, etc.  The most common toe affected by ingrown toenails is the great toe; however the smaller toes can also develop ingrown toenails.  When the corners of the toenails are cut too short or left too sharp, they can grow downwards into the skin.  Some people are born with toenails that are curved downward and grow into the skin.  Stubbing your toes or other injuries can also result in ingrown toenails.

There are various treatment options available for ingrown toenails.  If the problem is not chronic, regular treatment by a chiropodist can help prevent infections and a chiropodist can cut the nails properly preventing any further damage.  If the problem is chronic and the ingrown toenail(s) are continuously infected, there are more permanent solutions that can be done.  Firstly, antibiotics can be prescribed to fight off any infection that is present.  A minor surgical procedure can then be completed that removes the offending nail piece and a chemical is applied to ensure that the nail does not grow back.  This procedure is called a partial nail avulsion.  A total nail avulsion, which is removal of the whole nail, can also be done.  The type of procedure that is utilized depends on the severity of the ingrown nail and the patient’s preference.

If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail or for more information or 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 www.ontariofoot.ca.

Foot Clinic Milton & Cambridge : What causes fungal nails and how can they be treated?

Fungal nails, also known as onychomycosis is caused by an infection of the nails by a fungus.   Fungi can live on nails, dead tissues of the hair, and oouter skin layers. Fungal nails are more common in adults and in most cases follow fungal infections of the skin.  Toenails are more commonly affected then fingernails.

There are a number of ways one can contract a fungal nail infection.  The fungi that cause infection thrive in moist, dark environments.  These include public showers, swimming pools, gyms, and other areas where people sweat a lot.  Those who use these facilities regularly are at a higher risk of contracting the fungi.  Other things that can increase the risk of a fungal infection include getting manicures and pedicures where the tools used are not sterilized correctly, having moist skin for a long time, wearing closed-toe footwear, compromised immune system, and having a nail deformity or nail disease.

There are a number of changes that occur to the nails once infected by fungi.  These changes include discolouration of the nail (yellowish, brownish, and sometimes black), brittleness, thickening of the nail, crumbling of the outside edges of the nail, odour, debris trapped under the nail, and lifting up or loosening of the nail.  The nail(s) can become very hard to cut and in come cases can start to cause pain.

Once a fungal nail is diagnosed, the appropriate treatment option can be advised.  There are a number of topical anti-fungals that are available.  Some of these are prescription strength and some may be available over-the-counter.  Oral anti-fungals are also available, however they pose a higher risk and must be discussed with your health care professional before starting.  Fungal nails can take anywhere from a few months to a year to completely clear out.

For more information or 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 www.ontariofoot.ca.

You don’t have to live with ingrown toenails

Living in pain shouldn’t be something that becomes a permanent part of your life. Many people simply learn to live with the constant pain associated with ingrown toenails but there are services out there that can permanently relieve the stress you are dealing with as a result of recurring ingrown toenails.

This is an incredibly common problem and the experts at Ontario Foot and Orthotics can provide a variety of preventative and surgical solutions to ensure you don’t have to live another day with that stubborn ingrown nail.

The reasons that nails become ingrown are many. It could be as simple as wearing the wrong type of shoes for your natural foot shape. That is something that will be looked at during the biomechanical assessment provided at Ontario Foot and Orthotic. During your first meeting they can determine whether your footwear is the problem or if it goes deeper. Some people have feet that are anatomically disposed to cause ingrown nails and some people cut their nails improperly. If you have noticed that you are constantly in pain or that you develop infections in this area, it is time to book an appointment.

There are a few solutions that might suit you. The simplest options are to have the nails cut in the correct manner and to have the offending nail spike removed.  If the ingrown nail is a result of the position of your feet and the way you walk, customized orthotics can help reduce the pressure on the nail preventing ingrown nails from recurring. If it is a matter of nails that are being cut improperly, you can book recurring appointments to treat your nail problems. If you want to deal with ingrown nails once and for all, Ontario Foot and Orthotics actually offers a surgical option that will give you a permanent solution. By removing the nail and chemically burning the root that allows your nails to grow, your nail will not grow back in the area that is causing the pain.  There are options to have a portion of the nail removed, or to have the whole nail removed. It’s fairly non-invasive and many patients are back on their feet in the next day.

Call Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit www.ontariofoot.ca for more info.