Ingrown Toenail

 

 

 

Ingrown toenails are a common condition affecting men and women of all ages. The condition is caused when the corners or sides of the toenail grow into the soft flesh of the toe. This can result from improperly trimmed nails, tight shoes, or injury to the toe. Ingrown toenails can be painful and lead to infection if not treated properly.

There are four stages of ingrown toenails, each with different symptoms. The first stage is characterised by redness and swelling around the nail. The second stage is characterised by pain and inflammation. The third stage is characterised by an infection, which may cause pus to drain from the toe. The fourth stage is characterised by damage to the tissue around the nail, which may require surgery to repair.

The medical professional treating foot and nail problems is known as a podiatrist. However, an experienced surgeon can treat conditions of the same.

Signs and Symptoms

Ingrown toenails are a common condition affecting men and women of all ages. The condition is caused when the corners or sides of the toenail grow into the soft flesh of the toe. This can result from improperly trimmed nails, tight shoes, or injury to the toe. Ingrown toenails can be painful and lead to infection if not treated properly.

There are four stages of ingrown toenails, each with different symptoms. The first stage is characterised by redness and swelling around the nail. The second stage is characterised by pain and inflammation. The third stage is characterised by an infection, which may cause pus to drain from the toe. The fourth stage is characterised by damage to the tissue around the nail, which may require surgery to repair.

The medical professional treating foot and nail problems is known as a podiatrist. However, an experienced surgeon can treat conditions of the same.

Diagnosis and tests

The sign of an ingrown toenail is redness, inflamed and sore-looking toe. There may be discolouration of the surrounding tissue at times and pus or inflammatory exudate (fluid) seeping out. There may be a foul smell as well.

The toe is tender on the touch and may cause difficulty (pain) when wearing closed shoes or even walking. The patients themselves can report this condition to the doctor.

Treatment

Few steps a can help relieve the symptoms of the ingrown toenail. This includes using Epsom bath salts to dip your foot, using antibiotic creams, and wearing roomy footwear. This can prevent the worsening of the ingrowth.

However, you need to see a surgeon if the nail looks too bad, if you have diabetes, or if you have severe nerve damage and further infection. The surgeon will perform a procedure known as Nail Avulsion. This is done under local anaesthesia, where a part of the nail is removed to keep it from growing inwards.

Steps to avoid ingrown toenails:

Clip your nails correctly:

  • Do not tear or rip nails
  • It is best to soak your nails in warm water before clipping and use a clean, sterile nail clipper
  • Avoid trauma by overzealous pedicure
  • Don’t round off the edges of the nails

    Footwear:

 

  • Wear properly fitted footwear
  • Keep your feet dry with properly fitted socks if you wear shoes
  • Don’t wear narrow shoes that make your nails dig into the surrounding skin