What is Ingrown Toe Nail?
An ingrown toe nail is a painful condition of the toe. It occurs when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the skin at the end or side of the toe. Pain and inflammation at the spot where the nail curls into the skin occurs first. The inflamed area then starts to grow extra tissue or drain yellowish fluid.
What are the causes?
Ingrown toe nail can be caused by tight-fitting shoes or high heels causing the toes to be compressed together and pressurize the nail to grow abnormally. Improper trimming of toenails can also cause the corners of the nail to dig into the skin. Disorders such as fungal infections of the nail can also cause a thickened or widened toenail to develop.
How to prevent it?
The best method of prevention is careful clipping of the toenails. Toenails should be clipped straight across and taking care to keep the end longer than the skin edge. This prevents the corners from digging into the skin. They should not be rounded or cut too short. Wearing well-fitting shoes helps as well.
What are the treatments?
Mild ingrown toenails may be treated with conservative measures like warm daily soaks, topical antibiotics, and gently pushing back the piece of overgrown skin away from the nail. More advanced ingrown toenails may require treatment with oral antibiotics. Resistant or recurrent cases of ingrown toenails may require a minor in-office procedure. Surgical procedures aim to remove the embedded nail from the toe tissue.