Ingrown toenails occur when the edges or corners of your nails grow into the skin next to the nail. The result is pain, redness, swelling and, sometimes, an infection.
You can treat ingrown toenails at home. If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to your feet, you’re at greater risk of complications of ingrown toenails.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenail symptoms include:
• 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
• The ingrowing toenail may also leak blood and white or yellow pus.
Causes of Ingrown Toenail
Common ingrown toenail causes include:
• Wearing shoes that crowd your toenails
• Cutting toenails incorrectly
– E.g. cut straight across, since angling the sides of the nail can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.
• Toenail injury
– including stubbing your toe, dropping something heavy on your foot, or kicking a ball repeatedly
• Having unusually curved toenails
• Improper foot hygiene, such as not keeping your feet clean or dry
– Activities in which you repeatedly kick an object or put pressure on your feet for long periods of time can cause toenail damage and increase your risk of ingrown toenails.
– These activities include : ballet, football, kickboxing, soccer.
Risks of Ingrown Toenail
As ingrown nails grow deeper into the skin, they cause a wound that is easily susceptible to infections. If untended, cellulitis can set in, causing severe swelling and redness. When detected or left untreated, ingrown toenails can even infect the underlying bones of the toe, causing an infection of the infection.
Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes, which can cause poor blood flow and damage nerves in your feet.
A difficult-to-heal open sore (foot ulcer) may require surgery to prevent the decay and death of tissue (gangrene). Gangrene results from an interruption in blood flow to an area of your body.
Home Treatments for Ingrown Toenail
To treat your ingrown toenail at home, here are some tips:
● Using over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol for the pain
● Applying a topical antibiotic to prevent infection
– If the toenail does not respond to home treatments or antibiotics and an infection occurs, you may need surgery.
Surgery Treatment for Ingrown Toenail
Lifting the nail
For a slightly ingrown nail (redness and pain but no pus), your doctor may carefully lift the ingrowing nail edge and place cotton, dental floss or a splint under it. This separates the nail from the overlying skin and helps the nail grow above the skin edge.
Partially removing the nail
If the ingrown toenail keeps coming back, the nail may be removed so that the toenail cannot grow again.. Before this procedure, your doctor may temporarily numb your toe by injecting it with a local anaesthetic.
Removing the nail and tissue
If you have the problem repeatedly on the same toe, your doctor may suggest removing a portion of the nail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed). This procedure may prevent that part of your nail from growing back.
If you are facing an ingrown toenail issue that you wish to resolve, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedics. Book a consultation session with us if you have any questions for our Doctor.