Ingrown toenail or onychocryptis is a common and frustrating cause of toe pain. It is often caused by improper footwear that doesn’t allow the nail to grow properly, or due to poor nail cutting. Pain and redness around the side of the toenail are the main symptoms, and infection may occur. Read more on the symptoms and treatment of ingrown toenail.
It is usually the big toe or great toe that is affected. 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.
Treatment in most cases is simply to soak the toe in warm salt water 3-4 times a day. This is often a simple answer to how to treat an 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 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 the 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 antifungal treatment is necessary.
Surgery is sometimes used in very severe cases to remove the nail border. This is known as 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.
It may be done under local anesthetic with any bad tissue being removed. The nail matrix is then treated with Phenol to prevent re-growth.
Read more on preventing ingrown toenails.