Ingrown toenails are a common and frustrating cause of toe pain. Often they are caused by improper footwear not allowing the nail to grow properly, or due to poor nail cutting resulting in overgrowth in a particular direction.
Ingrown toenail symptoms
It is usually the big toe or great toe that is affected by an ingrown toenail. The sides of the nail will appear to grow downwards into the skin of the toe. Pain will be felt in the toe with tenderness when applying gentle pressure to the area at the side of the nail
Redness may be seen on the toe around the sides of the nail, particularly the side where the nail has grown inwards. Swelling may also be seen and infection is often possible in the form of fungal infection or becomes an infected ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenail treatment
Treatment for an ingrown toenail in most cases is simply soaking the toe in warm salt water 3-4 times a day. This is often a simple answer to how to treat and ingrown toenail. If your toe is infected, you have diabetes or you have unusually bad foot circulation, seek medical attention from a doctor immediately.
When trimming your nails, cut straight across the toenail. Do not round the corners of the toenail as this is thought to encourage growth down into the toe. Do not attempt to cut out the ingrowth yourself. Some people may advocate ingrown toenail home remedies although the medical profession will advise against it as this will only encourage the nail to grow back the same way again.
A Chiropodist or Podiatrist will usually elevate the troublesome section of nail, make a V-shaped cut and attempt to stretch the surrounding soft tissue with a cotton bud. If the toenail is infected with a nail fungal infection then treatment with oral antibiotics or local anti fungal treatment is necessary.
Ingrown toenail surgery
Surgery for an ingrown toenail is sometimes used in very severe cases to remove the nail border. This is known as a resection of the outer aspect of the nail and its purpose is to prevent the edge of the nail damaging the soft tissue of the toe at the side of the nail.
Ingrown toenail surgery may be done under local anesthetic. Any bad tissue is removed and the nail matrix is then treated with Phenol to prevent re-growth.