Archive for the ‘Ingrown Toenails’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Ingrown Toenails: What are the Common Causes?

When the sides of the toenails grow into the skin surrounding it, it develops into a condition known as ingrown toenail.

Otherwise known as unguis incarnates and onychocryptosis, the condition often affects the big toe.

People with curved or thick nails are more susceptible to developing ingrown toenail.

When the nail curls and pierces the surrounding skin, it can resultto swelling, redness, and tenderness.

Treatment options can range from non-invasive alternatives to ingrown toenail surgery.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition.

However, individuals who experience numbness in the toes and have vascular problems and diabetes need to be more vigilant when it comes to preventing and treating the condition as it can lead to serious complications.

What common symptoms signal ingrown toenails?

  • Pain when pressure is placed on the toe
  • Swelling
  • Fluid build-up in the area that surrounds the toe
  • Hypertrophy or skin overgrowth around the affected toe
  • Yellow or white pus on the site
  • Bleeding

 

What are the likely causes of ingrown toenail?

Several factors can lead to the development of ingrown toenail, including:

  • Incorrect cutting of the toenails –cutting the edges of the nail or cutting it too short can result to the nail growing into the skin.
  • Injury – stubbing and jamming the toe can sometimes cause ingrown toenail to develop.
  • Ill-fitting footwear – high heels, shoes that don’t fit, and tight hosiery can cause compression and can cause the nail to grow abnormally.
  • Unusually curved nails – toenails that are unusually curved can predispose an individual to ingrown toenail.

 

When do you need to see your doctor?

  • When severe discomfort is experienced
  • When redness and pus manifests
  • When patient has diabetes or other medical conditions that causes poor blood flow to the feet
  • When there is infection or foot sore

What are the likely complications of the condition?

Sans proper attention and treatment, ingrown toenail can end up infecting the underlying bone.

Severe complications can occur for those patients with diabetes as even the most minor of injuries—scrape, callus, corn, cut, ingrown toenail, etc.—might become infected or may not heal properly.

What are the treatment options available?

Many cases of ingrown toenails will often respond to home care remedies.

For cases that are not severe, the following home care treatment will suffice:

  • Soak feet in warm water – this should be done at least 3 to 4 times daily (at 15 to 20 minutes each time). Soaking the feet is done to relieve the tenderness and minimize the swelling.
  • Place dental floss or cotton under the toenail – to ensure the nail will grow above the edge of the skin, putting waxed dental floss or cotton under the ingrown edge is recommended.
  • Use antibiotic cream – before putting bandage on the toe, apply an antibiotic ointment on the affected area.
  • Wear proper footwear – until the condition improves, it is recommended that only open-toed shoes or sandals are worn.
  • Take OTC pain relievers – taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (Motrin IB and Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are advised to help ease the pain and discomfort.

If the condition does not respond to non-invasive alternatives, ingrown toenail surgerymight be recommended.

Depending on the severity, the procedure may involve removing just a portion or the entire toenail.

  • Partial nail avulsion – the procedure involves removing only part of the toenail. It is considered the most common treatment for ingrown toenails. Prior to cutting the edges of the toenail, a chemical called phenol will be applied to the affected site. Pus will be drained (if there are any) and antibiotics might be prescribed to combat infection.
  • Total nail avulsion – the procedure entails complete removal of the toenail. This is often the ideal option if the nail is thick and presses into the skin that surrounds the toe.

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