An ingrown nail can affect the nails of the fingers and toes. It most commonly affects the big toe. In this condition, the nail grows into the flesh. It produces inflammation when the nail breaks the skin, it produces a local inflammation. It is seen in adults more than children.
What are the symptoms of an ingrown nail?
An ingrown nail can involve one or both sides of the nail. The inflammation associated with a break in the skin of nail produces discomfort. A minor bumping of the affected toe produces excruciating pain. The ingrown nail makes it prone to infection. The infection of the nail fold produces pain, swelling and pus discharge. The distorted anatomy makes it prone for a collection of dirt in the depths of the nail fold.
What causes ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail is commonly seen in athletes. The causes include:
- Tight fitting footwear: Excessive force on the top and sides of the toenail forces it to grow inwards. Wearing loose fitting shoes with adequate toe room helps prevent the recurrence.
- Heredity: As a result of the abnormal shape of the nail bed.
- Secondary to an aggressive pedicure and trimming the corners of the nail.
- Injury to the nail bed.
What is the treatment of ingrown toenail?
Minor cases can be managed conservatively with steps taken to prevent recurrence. This includes warm soaks, antibacterial ointment and, use of a cotton tip applicator to lift up the ingrown nail. However, it is a condition which is prone to recur. In such cases the treatment is surgery. It is associated with lasting relief.
How is the surgery performed?
Surgery for ingrown nail is a minor procedure performed under local anesthesia. After making the toe or finger numb, the affected part of the nail is removed. The nail bed is either treated with cautery or surgically removed (matricectomy). This prevents the recurrence and is associated with lasting relief.
What is the recovery following surgery for an ingrown nail?
Patients are advised rest for 2 to 3 days. Pain and swelling are easily controlled with the help of oral medications. In case, the nail bed has been surgically removed there may be a few sutures. This helps the wound to heal fast.
What are the steps which help prevent ingrown toenail?
- The following measures can help prevent the recurrence of the ingrown nail.
- Avoiding tight footwear. Shoes or footwear should be chosen such that the toes do not bunch together.
- Practice good foot hygiene.
- Avoid cutting the corners of the nail. Nails should be clipped straight across.
What are the benefits of undergoing surgery for an ingrown toenail?
It is a minor procedure with rapid recovery. It produces lasting relief for individuals suffering from this condition.
The following is a short clip on surgery for ingrown toenail.