An ingrown toenail is a common foot condition in which the edge of a toenail, usually the big toe, grows into the surrounding skin.
The nail grows into the skin along the edge of the toenail, causing discomfort and potential infection. However, the severity of ingrown toenails can vary from minor discomfort to a more severe, infected condition. Factors such as the depth of the nail into the skin, the presence of infection, and frequency of occurrence may influence the severity.
Ingrown toenails are relatively common, affecting a significant number of individuals. While the exact prevalence may vary, it’s a frequently encountered foot condition seen by podiatrists and professionals. The condition can occur in people of all ages and is often manageable with proper care and treatment.
Ingrown toenails can be caused by various factors, including:
Proper foot care and regularly wearing well-fitted shoes can help prevent ingrown toenails.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail may include:
Severe cases can result in more intense pain or infection.
Diagnosing an ingrown toenail typically involves a physical examination by a professional, such as a podiatrist or a doctor. The diagnosis is often made based on the symptoms reported by the individual and the visible signs of the ingrown toenail, including redness, swelling, and tenderness.
In some cases, the healthcare provider might gently push on the skin around the toenail to assess tenderness and determine the best course of treatment. If the area is infected, they may recommend additional tests or procedures to manage it.
Complications related to an ingrown toenail can include:
Treatment options for an ingrown toenail may include:
Soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water several times a day can reduce swelling and tenderness.
Gently lift the edge of the ingrown nail and place a small piece of cotton or dental floss under it to encourage the nail to grow over the skin rather than into it
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage discomfort.
If an infection is present, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.
For severe cases or recurring ingrown toenails, a professional might perform a minor surgical procedure to remove a portion of the affected nail and prevent it from growing into the skin.
To prevent ingrown toenails, consider the following tips:
Living with an ingrown toenail can be uncomfortable, but following certain practices can help manage the condition:
Ingrown toenails can cause discomfort and potential complications if not addressed properly. It’s essential to manage them promptly and effectively. Address any discomfort or signs of an ingrown toenail early to prevent further complications.
Follow proper foot hygiene practices, such as trimming nails correctly and wearing comfortable footwear to reduce the risk of an ingrown toenail. Seek guidance from a professional to determine the most suitable treatment and avoid self-treatment that might worsen the condition.
If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort or suspect an ingrown toenail, we strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with The Orthopaedic Practice and Surgery Clinic for expert assessment and suitable care.
Seeking timely professional care is crucial for managing ingrown toenails and preventing potential complications.