Profiling Victims of Ingrown Toenails | Based on Podiatrists' Medical Expertise & Research

Ingrown toenails or onychocryptosis is one of the most painful, yet common foot conditions you can get. Mild cases are irritating at worst, but severe cases can make you jump out of your bed at just the slightest touch of a bedsheet.

Who gets ingrown toenails though, and why? The answer from a practicing podiatrist may surprise you.

 

Teenagers

Teenagers | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Teenagers aged 13-18 make up 30% of our ingrown toenail patients and are generally more vulnerable to leg injuries and diseases, due to their active lifestyles and (relatively) worse hygiene. Some people might think that ingrown toenails are just caused by bad luck or direct trauma, but poor hygiene is actually a big cause of it too.

Toenails that get affected by fungal infections get misshapen, and are more likely to become ingrown toenails. Teenagers who run around a lot and more often than not neglect to clean up properly afterward are especially vulnerable to these fungal infections, as the hot, sweaty environment of a sports shoe is the perfect breeding ground for fungi. Many teenagers end up becoming regular visitors to foot specialists, as their lifestyle habits can make these recurring problems.

 

Young Women

Ingrown toenails can cause a lot of pain | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

By “young women”, we mean women aged 18-40. Yes, women in their 30s are still considered young! These women are the main target market for pedicures, and while they are a therapeutic activity that can help make your nails and feet prettier, many pedicurists can be overzealous.

Overzealous pedicuring | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Carving out the sides of your nails can make you feel like your nails are cleaner, since it feels like dirt has been taken out. But in reality, excessively cleaning out those areas of skin can actually increase the risk of you getting ingrown toenails. Also, did you know that toenails actually shouldn’t be cut into a rounded shape? They should be cut straight across, to further minimize the chance of getting ingrown toenails.  

Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of getting ingrown toenails due to the swelling of their feet inside their shoes, and the increased pressure placed on the feet due to pregnancy. Watch out for your health too when you’re carrying a baby!

Some pedicurists who discover ingrown toenails might also try to remove them on their own. This is a terrible idea. Pedicurists are not foot surgeons, and do not have the proper surgical-grade, sterilized tools nor the skills to cut out the ingrown portions of ingrown toenails. 

Improperly done procedures will often leave a painful nail spike in the skin, and the worst part is that they actually continue growing because they are still attached to the nail root. This is even more painful than having the ingrown toenail, and it can even get infected! We highly recommend going to a proper foot doctor to get your ingrown toenails dealt with – it’s a quick, painless procedure that saves you a lot of grief.

Men

Pointy shoes are terrible for ingrown toenails | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Previously, we talked about how office workers are one of the most at-risk groups for ingrown toenails. Men especially are vulnerable to them because the tight, pointy ends of the typical office-ready shoe make it more likely for toenails to become ingrown due to the pressure. Because they are worn with socks all the time, they are also often sweaty and damp, making them perfect breeding grounds for fungal infections too.

The fact that many office shoes are also expensive and take time to break in means that many men are hesitant to replace them even when they get worn out. It’s important to change your shoes regularly, because worn-out shoes can lead to other lower limb problems over time like metatarsalgia or runner’s knee.

Final Thoughts

Do you belong to one of these at-risk groups, or do you suspect that you may be getting an ingrown toenail? Look no further – we at Family Podiatry Centre have extensive experience in dealing with ingrown toenails. We can help.

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Podiatrist 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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