Why antibiotics won't fix your ingrown nail

Have you ever had an ingrown toenail? Painful, right?! Have you ever just gone to the GP to get some antibiotics in the hope that it will get better? I’m sure you have as we see many of you at our office after the antibiotics haven’t fixed the problem!

In my opinion, to have a successful resolution of your ingrown nail, you need to treat the nail itself rather than treating the infection it creates!

Ingrown nails can occur for many different reasons, but commonly are due to poor nail shape (curved nails) - this is hereditary. Other factors that can increase the chance of ingrown nails are incorrect cutting techniques, picking or tearing nails instead of using clippers, or poor fitting footwear.

Too many times I have people come to see me that have had problems with their nails for months, if not years, and have just patched the problem up with antibiotics. Sure, antibiotics can clear the wound and make the nail feel better for a while, but soon enough, the problem will come back as the reason for the problem has not changed!

It is also important to note that taking antibiotics regularly for your recurring ingrown nail contributes to the problem of antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics over time, so stopping your problem nails from ingrowing in the first place is the best action to take and decreases the use of antibiotics in the population = this means that antibiotics will work when you actually need them!

Here at Foot Right Podiatry, we are experts in treating your problem ingrown nails. For mild ingrown nails, we can remove the small piece of nail that has lodged into your skin relatively easily and with a minimal amount of pain.

If you have had ongoing problems with your nails, we will recommend you have a minor nail surgery to fix your nail problems for good. This procedure is performed in our rooms under local anaesthetic and takes approximately 40 minutes to complete. When completed, the section of nail that has caused you the problems has been removed and it is prevented from re-growing with a chemical. Your nail will appear very slightly narrower than before, but the best news is that you will no longer have a problem with your nail. Hooray!

If you do have a problem with your nails, contact us for an appointment. Life is too short to be constantly limping because of your painful toenail!