Ingrown toenails are a common soft tissue condition of the feet and often occur due to either the way the toenail is cut or the natural anatomy of the nail. Some treatments for ingrown toenails include partial or total nail removal which will be done under local anaesthesia.
Regardless of the reason for the occurrence, generally, the nail will slowly grow into the flesh of the nail fold, causing a small break in the skin. This break in the skin, while initially may not be felt by the patient, becomes a portal of entry for the bacteria to creep in. As more bacteria opportunistically enter the soft tissue, the body reacts to this by flaring up with inflammation, warmth, redness and sometimes purulence (pus).
If only oral antibiotics are taken or antibiotic ointment is applied, the surrounding nail fold will remain infected as the aggravating factor has not been removed.
Ingrown toenails are generally caused by the way you trim your nails or a change in the shape of the toenails. Individuals with toenails that are either highly curved, known as involuted nails, or very wide nail plates, are at high risk of developing ingrown toenails at some point in life. Without proper treatment, it may even lead to recurrent ingrown toenails.
Common causes of ingrown toenails include:
Factors that can lead to change in nail shape:
Ingrown toenails can be treated conservatively or through a minimally invasive procedure. The procedure, known as partial nail avulsion with matrixectomy, can be performed to provide a long-term resolution. It is important to understand the cause of the ingrown toenail and its likelihood of recurrence before deciding the best treatment option.
Ingrown toenail treatment options include:
Repeated episodes of ingrown toenails can easily happen once you have had it before, therefore it is essential to know how to prevent an ingrown toenail from occurring.
Steps that you can do to prevent ingrown toenails from developing include:
Things you should do when you have an ingrown toenail:
Improper handling of an ingrown toenail can result in serious infection, especially in patients with low immunity. Many patients often neglect the condition in its early stages and ended up with severe pain and pus collection at the side of the affected nail.