Ingrown Toenails – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Your toe is usually the first line of defense when it comes to walking biomechanics and thus is more prone to get hurt on a door that pointed edge coming out of your refrigerator etc.

For me it’s mostly the corner of my sofa which I might get hurt over more than I don’t know 10 times a day. Now this only happens to clumsy people like me, we drop, we fall, and we get hit by non-moving items.

For all those who do not belong to this category and yet develops a bruised toe every now and then may have to reconsider if they are actually suffering from Ingrown Toe nail. This is also known as onychocryptosis.

How do you know if you really have it?

Well it is painful as hell to touch and without along with the redness in and around the nail course.

In some cases it could be swollen.

Extreme symptom may land around Infection of the Toe at the nail bed with pus and localized increase in temperature of the area.

It may bleed as well at times. Over the top of it as toe is the most prone area to hit around places, it gets worse and healing is extremely limited.​

After the clearer picture that it is an ingrown toe nail you must know that it can occur in any age or sex. Some evidence shows the prevalence to be higher in males than females of productive age group.​

What causes this ridiculous problem to occur?​

The most common cause is ill fitting shoe worn for unexpected hours or tight stockings may contribute to develop this condition.

I remember my brother developing this condition for the same reason. He was fine, he had me :-).

Inappropriate nail cutting technique is another contributory factor, when you cut them too short or uneven.

Some conditions like structurally curved toe nails exist without any external contribution you may develop this condition repetitively with no fault of you own.

Few cases develop by trauma that gets converted into Ingrown Toe Nail.

Poor foot hygiene and excessive sweating work as the precipitating factors if not being the direct contributors.

Use of isotretinoin in the treatment of severe acne may again be a strong precipitating factor.​ [1]

​What if ingrown toenail gets infected?

​As I informed you in the beginning infection is a huge possibility. It can be fungal or bacterial and worsen the symptoms.

If the condition is over lapped with Diabetes (of which the chances are higher in older adults) or hemophilia the condition keeps worsening and can result in bone involvement, ulcer or even gangrene.

Immediate medical assistance should be claimed in case of any infection or complication

Home remedies for ingrown toenails

In early stage this condition can be treated with some proven home remedies.

Good old warm water cleansing to the rescue.

Try soaking your foot in warm soapy water two to three times a day; use a clean and fresh cotton bud to gently push the skin away from the toenail.

Epsom salt can be added to get rid of hard, dead skin easy. Once the ritual is complete you gotta keep the foot extremely clean and dry to reduce the chances of fungal infection.

​Apple Cider Vinegar added warm water can reduce the chances of bacterial infection when used to soak feet.

Essential Oils can be used for aviating Inflammation and Pain by dripping the oil in and around nail bed and massaging it enhance disinfection and circulation and thus healing.

This is from self-defense play.

​I suggest medical attention for cases with excessive and uncontrolled symptoms. You can continue using home remedies once medical dressing is done.

A healthcare professional may try lifting the nail followed by placing cotton, dental floss or a splint under it to separate the nail from the skin and help the nail grow.

Worst case, he may pursue removal of a part of your nail with or without the nail bed from the skin depending on the extent of damage and its implications. He might as well place cotton between nail and skin to keep it back from curving in again.

If the nail is extremely distorted, the whole nail may be taken out under a local anesthetic. Permanent removal can be a remedy for recurrent problem, residual tissues may be destroyed using a chemical called phenol, or laser.

All surgical treatment should be accompanied by symptomatic treatment like anti-inflammatory drugs. The treatment followed may include antibiotics and protective open toed footwear.

​How to Prevent?

  • Good Footwear
  • Habits
  • Professional Advice

Wearing footwear with appropriate fitting that leaves toes ample of room. All socks, stockings and other foot protectors should be well fitted.

So here we go, there isn’t any last thoughts in my mind as to how to keep way from ingrown toe nails because in most cases you cannot, if you have it, well then try protecting from repeated injuries and look out for all the possible preventive measures.

They are not wrong when they say “Prevention is better than cure” and in this very case trust you me, CURE cannot be more painful. Take care…

Dr. Tripti Ojha
 

Dr. Tripti Ojha, Bachelor of Physiotherapy and Masters in Hospital Administration with around 9 year experience as an expert healthcare practitioner and an eminent healthcare Manger. She has provided her inputs in academics, Healthcare products, wellness, insurance, TPA, hospitals, fitness, laboratories etc. Her approach towards healthcare content and research is impeccable and fresh. She has written and edited numerous healthcare articles, blogs, info graphs and the like. We hope for you to find her writings to be of great use.

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