7 Ingrown Toenails Myths Debunked!

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An ingrown toenail occurs when the sharp corner of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. If it is not treated promptly, it can cause pain, redness, swelling and possibly infection. This article is aiming to debunk some myths that patients commonly associate with ingrown toenails.

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Myth 1:
Ingrown toenails only happen to people with weird nail shapes.
Myth debunked:
Ingrown toenails do not only happen to people with a broad nail or a nail that is curled in at the edges. Other factors contributing to the development of an ingrown toenail may include poor nail cutting technique, wearing tight shoes, having sweaty feet, stubbing your toe or having a fungal toenail.

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Myth 2:
Only big toes can have ingrown toenails.
Myth debunked:
Any of the toes can be affected but the big toes are the most commonly affected. If the 2nd toe is the longest toe and footwear is too short, this can cause the toe to hit against the front of the shoe thus developing an ingrown toenail. 

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Myth 3: 
Young children will never get ingrown toenails.
Myth debunked:
Ingrown toenails may happen to anyone from young children to the elderly. In fact, our clinic frequently attends to young boys playing football who developed ingrown toenails due to repetitive pressure against the toe. A lot of young people especially adolescents also tend to have very sweaty feet causing the surrounding skin to be soft and the nail can easily pierce the skin.

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Pamela Perry. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0515-1002-2723-4934. http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0515-1002-2723-4934.html

Myth 4:
As long as I cut down the edges of my nails, ingrown toenails will never happen to me.
Myth debunked:
Without cutting your nail edges with the proper tools, there is a high chance that a sharp nail edge may be left behind, causing an ingrown toenail. Cutting down the edges may also cause the skin to grow over the nail edge, thus causing the nail to pierce the skin when it grows longer.

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Myth 5: 
Ingrown toenail can be treated by just applying medicine such as antibiotic cream or traditional chinese medicine.
Myth debunked:
Applying medicine may help to prevent infection. However, if the ingrown nail edge is not removed, the pain and swelling will not be resolved.

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Myth 6:
The only way to treat ingrown toenail is to take out the whole nail by the Doctor. Ouch!
Myth debunked:
Depending on the extent of the ingrowing nail, a total nail avulsion (removal of entire nail) may not be warranted. An experienced Podiatrist will be able to use special tools to remove the small part of the nail that is cutting into the skin without causing further injury to the surrounding area. Any dead skin at the sides of the nail will be cleared and the nail edge will be filed down to ensure there are no sharp edges left behind.

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Myth 7: 
Ingrown toenail treatment is always too painful and scary!
Myth debunked:
If the offending nail edge is embedded too deeply into the skin and the pain is intolerable, a local anaesthetic can be applied to numb the toe first. A skilled Podiatrist will be able to clear the ingrowing nail with minimal pain and injury to the area. In fact, our patients leave the clinic with the original pain much relieved once the ingrown nail is cleared.

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