Press Publication: Cut Down on Toe Infections
Sun Newspaper (05/11/2003)

FootWise in the Sun newspaper - Click to enlargeBy definition, an ingrown toenail is simply one which has one or both sides pushing deeply into the adjacent tissue.

What most people understand to be an ingrown toenail is really an infected toe caused in the vast majority of cases by an incorrect nail-cutting technique.

The correct nail-cutting technique, in the case of toenails, is to cut them straight accross, even if it means leaving some "white" in the corners and letting the nail clear the end of the toe.

It is also much better to trim the nails frequently than try to cut as much of the nail away as possible.

This is especially the case with an ingrown toenail because the curvature of the nail makes it difficult to see whether the nail has been cut properly, because the edge of the nail is "buried" in the adjacent tissue.

The problem - and the danger for diabetics and people with poor circulation - is that the nail can easily splinter at the adge, leaving a spike or rough edge.

It is this spike or rough edge that starts to penetrate the tissue as the nail growns, where germs, which are in adundant supply, can then infect the wound.

The toe quickly becomes red and painful, and very tender to the touch.

At this stage it is much better to seek professional help than to leave it alone, and hope for the best, or "hack at it" yourself and make things worse. Will it hurt having the infected toenail treated? Yes, it will, but the pain will only get worse if nothing is done about it professionally.

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