Ingrown Toe Nails

Introducing Ingrown Toenails: Understanding, Treatment, and Prevention

Ingrown toenails can be a painful condition resulting from abnormal growth of the sides and corners of the toenail into the surrounding soft flesh. While it is a common issue, it can cause discomfort, swelling, and redness, primarily affecting the big toe on one or both sides.

Though ingrown toenails can be treated at home in mild cases, seeking medical attention from a podiatrist (foot specialist) becomes necessary if the toenail gets infected or if you have underlying medical conditions like diabetes. However, the good news is that ingrown toenails can often be prevented by taking precautionary measures.

For comprehensive knowledge about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of ingrown toenails, consult Dr. Samatha at Dr. Samatha Clinic and Wellness Centre in Hyderabad.

Who is prone to Ingrown Toenails?

Anyone can experience ingrown toenails, but some individuals have a higher risk, such as:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Athletes
  3. People with sweaty feet
  4. Diabetics (high blood sugar levels)
  5. Individuals with severe nerve damage in the leg or foot
  6. Those with an infection around the nail
  7. People with poor blood circulation

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails occur when the sides or corners of a toenail grow into the surrounding flesh, often affecting individuals with big toes and sweaty feet. Contributing factors to ingrown toenails include:

  1. Trimming toenails too short
  2. Rounding the edges of toenails during cutting
  3. Wearing ill-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that press against the toenail
  4. Toe injury due to impact on a hard surface
  5. Stress on the toenails from poor posture or physical activities like ballet, soccer, or running
  6. Family history of ingrown toenails
  7. A congenital condition, where the nail is too large for the toe

What Are the Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails?

The symptoms of an ingrown toenail may include:

  1. Hard swelling and tenderness in the affected area
  2. Redness and soreness around the nail
  3. Pain, making it difficult to stand or walk
  4. Warmth or a hot sensation in the toe
  5. Bleeding due to inflamed skin
  6. Infections from bacteria entering the inflamed flesh
  7. Discharge of white or yellow pus
  8. Edema, leading to fluid buildup and swelling, making it hard to wear full-coverage footwear

How Is An Ingrown Toenail Diagnosed?

In most cases, you can identify an ingrown toenail through its signs, symptoms, and clinical appearance. However, consulting a podiatrist for a physical examination is recommended. The diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin around the toenail, which may be growing over the nail, swollen, red, or tender. Additional tests or X-rays are rarely necessary, but they may be done if a severe infection is suspected.

How Can You Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

Prevention is essential, and several steps can help avoid ingrown toenails:

  1. Wear properly fitting shoes that provide ample space for your toes.
  2. Trim toenails to a moderate length, avoiding exposing the underlying soft skin.
  3. Cut the toenails straight across, without rounding or curving the edges.
  4. Wear protective footwear during activities that may risk injuring the toes.

What Are the Treatment Options for Ingrown Toenails?

Mild cases of ingrown toenails can be managed at home using remedies, while more severe cases may require surgical intervention. For mild cases, you can try the following home treatments:

  1. Soak your foot in warm, soapy water to reduce swelling and pain.
  2. Soak your feet in apple cider vinegar, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Apply antiseptic ointment to promote healing and prevent infection.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes and socks that do not crowd your toes.
  5. Use a toe protector or brace for cushioning and support.

If home remedies are insufficient, surgical treatment may be necessary, such as:

  1. Partial nail avulsion (removal of a portion of the toenail).
  2. Complete nail avulsion (removal of the entire toenail).
  3. Surgery on the tip of the toe to remove and reshape soft tissue.
  4. Matrixectomy (removal of the nail bed along with the nail).

The surgical procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and may involve local anesthesia.

For proper evaluation, early detection, and prompt treatment of ingrown toenails, visit Dr. Samatha at Dr. Samatha Clinic and Wellness Centre in Hyderabad. We aim to provide comprehensive care and alleviate your discomfort effectively.