i see lots of patients with distorted painful nails ..most people assume that any pain around the side of their nails means that they have ingrown nails …this is not always true
they pain they describe can be usually divided into two types of nail issues
1. Involuted nails – these are nails that press into the skin around the edges of the nail (see picture above ) they don’t actually break the skin and usually don’t become infected . There is sometimes a large amount of hard skin under the edges of the nail .This can increase the pressure even more on the underlying skin and make the toes very painful . Careful clipping and removal of the hard skin usually fixes them ..But the nail regrows over time in the same way and sooner or later the nail problem returns . If the nails are a long standing problem then a small procedure called a Partial Nail Avulsion can help .This removes the sides of the nail permanently so that the curved bits don’t press into the skin
2 . Ingrown toenails . These are what most people recognise as a bad toe problem . They can be very painful , infected ,swollen, smelly and lots of pus ! Ingrown toenails ,i feel,are often caused by bad toenail cutting . Toe nails that are clipped too short ,or when the sides of nails are dug or picked (often trying to remove a piece of sock !) can often turn into nasty ingrown nails . If your quick to do something about it (come to the podiatrist !!) then a major problem can often be avoided . Playing around with the toe often makes it worse and the toe can swell and become infected very quickly . A good tip is – if you think you’ve got a problem bathe the whole toe in a bowl of warm salty water ..and don’t pick the toe ! . Get some professional help ASAP !