Ingrown Toenail

Information about the ingrown toenail

When the growth of toenail occurs in the flesh of toe, such is condition of the toenail is termed as ingrown toenail. Usually, big toe is the common site of development of ingrown toenail. There are many complications associated with the ingrown toenail. Infection of surrounding tissues is the primary complication of ingrown toenail. Usually, these complications arise when ingrown toenail is left untreated for some period.

Symptoms of Ingrown Toenail

Following are some of the most common symptoms which are indicative of development of ingrown toenail.

  • Pain in toenail and surrounding area
  • Redness and swelling of toenail and adjoining area
  • Tender, hard and swollen nail
  • Draining of pus from toenail

Factors responsible for development of ingrown toenails

There are number of causes which may attribute toward occurrence of ingrown toenails. Following are some of the common factors that could lead to appearance of ingrown toenails.

  • Improper cutting of toenails. Not observing proper caution while cutting nails.
  • Wearing mis-fitting shoes. Narrow, tight shoes can lead to pressure and compression of toenails against surrounding tissues.
  • Abnormally curved nails
  • Trauma such as pressure, injury or compression caused due to impact on the nail
  • Trauma like injury etc to toe

Complications led by ingrown toenail

As said earlier, ingrown toenails could lead to various complications. However, these complications occur only when the ingrown toenail is not treated properly and at early stage. Some of the common complications include:

  • Infection of surrounding tissues. If the infection already persists, not treatment of ingrown toenail can worsen and the infection may spread towards leg and foot. In some cases such infection may even enter into blood stream and spread to other body organs.
  • Inflammation of nail bed is next complication. Such infection and inflammation may even result in loss of nail plate.
  • Deformation of nail plate and tissues around nail is another complication that may occur as a result of non-treatment
  • If not treated in time, one may develop granuloma (a type of benign tumor which is small in size) along the nail margin.

Treatment of Ingrown Toenail

There are some remedies available for treating ingrown toenails. Following are some of the commonly used methods for treatment of ingrown toenails.

  • If feasible, the ingrown portion of nail, which has grown into the toe tissue, can be trimmed by a doctor. If the ingrown toenail has created infection to surrounding tissues, your physician will recommend certain medications (antibiotics).
  • Correcting the toenail surgically or removal of toenail completely, to prevent recurrence. If required, the doctor will drain the infection surgically.
  • Soaking the affected foot into warm water and taking rest is part of ingrown toenail treatment.

Prevention of Ingrown Toenails

Following tips will help you in preventing development of ingrown toenails.

  • Always cut toenails ensuring sufficient space in nail and tissue
  • Cut toenails across straight
  • Use shoes that fit you properly
  • Never tear off toenails.