Ingrown toenails are a very common and highly unpleasant condition to experience. The toenail grows into the skin around the nail edge causing inflammation and swelling of the surrounding skin of the affected nail. This can become very painful and require intervention to treat. This can be very restricting for patients as the pain can stop them from doing things that they usually would.
In most cases the big toe nail is affected, although it can occur in any nail. It is also more frequently seen in adults than in children. This condition is associated with complications. Not only is there often severe pain, there is an increased risk of infection in affected toes as a result of the associated skin and soft tissue destruction. Interestingly, ingrown toenails can affect all walks of life, whether you lead an active or not so active lifestyle! In fact, they are very common in athletes.
– Pain in and around the affected toe
– Swelling or thickening of the surrounding skin
– Risk of infection which may be seen as pus
– Poor nail cutting technique such as cutting too far down the side of the nails
– Presence of nail spike
– Poorly fitted footwear
– Toenail injury
– Curved nail structure
– Genetics predisposing some people more than others
The best way to pick up and treat an ingrown toenail is to visit a podiatrist. After clinical assessment which may include palpation and examination of the nail plate to assess severity, the podiatrist will be able to determine an accurate diagnosis and suitable care plan.
As a result of the increased risk of infection and the restricting state of the condition, it is important to get prompt treatment. It can be very relieving for patients to receive treatment as it is possible to cure ingrown toenails and reduce the risk of recurrence. Treatment can provide immediate relief from symptoms and allow patients to return to normal activity levels.
There are many treatment options available from more conservative to more curative choices. Depending on the assessment of a podiatrist, it is possible to determine which one best suits your feet. In many cases where the ingrown toenail is recurrent or is very painful and severe, surgery may be recommended. Surgery has a very good prognosis as it is a relatively safe procedure and has a very low risk of having another attack in the future.
On the other hand, where it is more short term and less severe, a more conservative approach may be tried. Although, this has a higher chance of having recurrent attacks, it is frequently preferred in patients who do not usually suffer from this condition. More conservative approaches may include; nail trimming, clearing the offending nail spike without use of local anesthetic and pain relief.