Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown Toenails

In medical term, an ingrown toenail is also referred as Onychocryptosis. An ingrown toenail occurs when the pressure from the ingrowth of the nail edge into the skin of the toe. Once the edge of the nail breaks through the skin, it produces inflammation. Ingrown toenail causes minor discomfort initially and may progress into an infection in the adjacent skin (cellulitis) and can also become a reoccurring problem.

Ingrown toenails are most commonly affect the large (great) toes. People who have diabetes or other conditions that cause poor circulation do face high and more risk factors and complications. It results in pain, redness, swelling and, sometimes, an infection.

The main causes of an ingrown toenail are:

  • Improper trimming of the toenail.

  • An inherited or hereditary condition.

  • Improper shoe fitting.

  • Injury by overly aggressive pedicures and nail picking.

  • Repetitive pressure or trauma to the feet.

  • Poor foot hygiene.

  • Foot or toe deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes.

  • Congenital toenail deformity.

  • Obesity.

  • Diabetes.

  • Fungus infection of the nails (onychomycosis).

  • Arthritis.

  • Bony or soft-tissue tumors of the toes.

  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet)

  • Edema (swelling) of the lower extremities.

Ingrown toenail symptoms include:

  • When you feel discomfort due to pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail.

  • Redness around your toenail.

  • Swelling of your toe around the nail.

  • Infection of the tissue around your toenail.

See your doctor if you:

  • Experience severe discomfort in your toe or pus or redness that seems to be spreading.

  • Have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet.

  • When you experience any foot sore or infection.

Treatments for Ingrown toenail:

1. Lifting the nail:

In this procedure of lifting the nail, the doctor may carefully lift the ingrowing nail edge and place cotton, a splint or dental floss under it for a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no pus). By this procedure, it will separate the nail from the overlying skin and help the nail to grow above the skin edge. At home, patients will need to soak the toe and replace the material daily to reduce the chances of any infection and for effective results.

2. Partially removing the nail:

This procedure is done after numbing your toe temporarily by injecting it with an anesthetic to reduce the discomfort of the patients, they may feel due to pain following the procedure.The treatment is to be done in the case of a  more severe ingrown toenail (redness, pain, and pus), consulted doctor may trim or remove the ingrown portion of your nail.

3. Removing the nail and tissue:

Many people face the problem repeatedly even after undergoing the treatment for the same problem before. If you face the problem repeatedly and finding it occurring in nature on the same toe, the doctor may suggest you for removing a portion of the nail along with the nail bed (underlying tissue). This procedure may prevent that part of your nail from growing back. Your doctor will use a chemical, a laser or other methods for the effective treatment and results. This procedure is called as Matrixectomy.