Podiatry

Ingrown Toenail (Onychocryptosis)

Introduction to Ingrown Toenail (Onychocryptosis)

An ingrown toenail is a painful condition, most commonly involving the large toe, whereby the nail grows into the tissue along the side of the nail or nail bed and pierces it, causing inflammation.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

An ingrown toenail is a painful condition, most commonly involving the large toe, whereby the nail grows into the paronychium (tissue along the side of the nail) or nail bed and pierces it, causing inflammation (redness, pain and swelling). Subsequently, the affected skin may become infected, which is a more serious concern. Those with diabetes should take extra care, as their condition can affect the way the toenail heals. Athletes, and people with foot or nail abnormalities are more prone to suffer from ingrown toenails.

What causes an Ingrown Toenail?

Wearing tight-fitted shoes puts downward pressure on the nail, causing it to grow in an unnatural direction. Ingrown toenails are not found in populations who do not wear shoes. Cutting nail too short, or not in a straight line. Trauma to the toe, e.g. stubbing or dropping heavy objects on the toe. Sweaty feet soften the skin around the nail, making it easier for the nail to penetrate.

What are the symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?

The symptoms include a painful toe (especially along the margins), increased sensitivity of the affected toe, build-up of fluid around the affected toe (oedema) and pus leakage from toe if infected.
If you are concerned your toe may be infected, be sure to contact your GP.

How is an Ingrown Toenail treated?

Antibiotics will be given if you have an infected nail. Sometimes a surgical route may be more appropriate. This may include a total nail avulsion to remove the toenail completely.
To prevent an ingrown toenail you should wear comfortable, loose-fitting shoes, soak the toe in warm water and cut the nail straight without a pointed edges.

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