Ingrown Toenails

What Are the Telltale Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail’s corner or side grows into the soft flesh.

Often affecting the big toe, the condition can cause redness, pain, and swelling.

In some cases, infections can develop in the toe affected.

Depending on the condition’s severity, conservative treatment options or ingrown toenail surgery may be recommended.

What are the likely causes?

Ingrown toenail can be attributed to several causes including:

  • Not cutting the toenails correctly (should be straight across)
  • Cutting the nails too short
  • Toenails that are unusually curved
  • Wearing shoes that crowd the toenails

What are some of the symptoms of the condition?

Some of the prevalent symptoms of ingrown toenail include:

  • Tenderness and pain in the area affected
  • Redness
  • Tissue infection
  • Swelling

How is the condition diagnosed?

Visiting a foot doctor (podiatrist) is recommended if you are not sure if what you really have is ingrown toenail.

During your scheduled appointment with your podiatrist, it would be best to come prepared so you will be able to make the most of your visit.

For starters, it would be a good idea to prepare a list of questions regarding your condition.

The following key questions should be included in your list:

  • Is the condition temporary or chronic (long-term)?
  • What are the recommended treatment interventions?
  • What are the pros and cons of the chosen treatment?
  • Will the condition disappear sans treatment?
  • What recommended nail care regimen should be adhered to while the toe is healing?

Likewise, it is important to also have a ready answer for some of the likely questions the doctor will also ask.

Some of the possible questions you need to prepare an answer to can include:

  • When did you first noticed the symptoms?
  • Do you experience them all the time?
  • What conservative (home care) treatments have you tried?
  • Do you have diabetes (or other medical conditions) that causes poor blood flow to the legs or feet?

What are the surgical options for ingrown toenail?

In severe cases or when the condition does not respond to conservative treatments, ingrown toenail surgery will be the next resort.

Partial Nail Removal

For cases that are severe (with pus, redness, and pain), the nail’s ingrown portion might be trimmed or removed.

Prior to the procedure, an anesthetic will be used to numb the affected toe temporarily.

Nail Lifting

For mild cases (with redness and pain but no pus), the affected nail’s edge will be carefully lifted and a splint or dental floss will be placed under it.

The technique is used to help guarantee the nail will grow above the skin’s edge.

Nail and Tissue Removal

If the condition has been recurring, the portion of the nail and the nail bed (underlying tissue) will be removed.

Oral or topical antibiotics will be prescribed when there is infection or the likelihood of one occuring is very high.

What are some preventive measures for ingrown toenail?

Keep toenails at moderate length.

At all times, it is recommended that toenails are trimmed in a way that makes them even with the tip of the toes.

When nails are trimmed too short, pressure from shoes might result to the nail growing into the tissue.

Trim the toenails right across.

If your nails will be done at a salon, it would be a good idea to instruct your pedicurist to trim them right across.

Wear proper fitting footwear.

Wearing shoes that are ill-fitting might cause the nail to grow into the tissue surrounding it.

Those who have nerve damage in the feet might find it difficult to sense if the shoes they are wearing are too tight.

In similar scenarios, it would be best to purchase footwear from shoe shops that specialize in fitting shoes for people with foot conditions.