By Dr. Sankeerth Vijayakumar, Dermatology
Ingrown toenails are a result of the edge of the nail growing downward into the skin. While it may happen on any toe, it usually occurs in the big toe. The pain during the in growth of the nail is the first symptom. The area surrounding it is usually sensitive and painful to touch. It may get infected, resulting in swelling, reddening, and formation of pus.
The causes of ingrown toenails are:
1) People who have curved or thick nails are more likely to suffer from this as the nails dig into the skin naturally while growing.
2) Improper cutting of nails, such as clipping it too short or rounding the edges.
3) Wearing ill-fitting socks and shoes puts strain on the toenails, making it easier for ingrowth of toenails.
4) Wearing mildly tight shoes during rigorous physical activities.
5) Foot injury or deformation of the feet leading to excess pressure on the toe.
6) Hurting the toe or stubbing it.
Ingrown nail is treated by using the following methods:
1) Soaking the toe in warm water twice or thrice a day for fifteen minutes.
2) Wetting a small piece of cotton or dental floss and wedging it between the corner of the nail and the skin helps lift the nail off the skin.
3) Massaging gently over the inflamed area.
4) Partial nail avulsion has to be done in case the symptoms reoccur after conservative management.
5) Consult a doctor if the ingrown toenails come back or it becomes infected.
Precautions During Treatment-
Precautions must also be taken during the treatment. They are as follows:
1) Avoid using sharp objects to dig under the nail as it might lead to infection.
2) Don’t try to remove the pus by using sharp objects. It would only make the infection worse.
3) Wear comfortable shoes that do not put undue strain on the toes.