Onychocryptosis, more commonly known as ingrown toenail, is a common condition where the side or corner of your toenail grows into your tender flesh. As a result, you may experience pain, discomfort, swelling, and irritated skin, and if ignored, it can lead to an infection. Usually, it is the big toe that gets affected by ingrown toenails.

Dr. Leena Jain, a renowned plastic surgeon in Borivali, says that you are more prone to develop ingrown toenail issues if you have been wearing uncomfortable or tight shoes; but mostly results developmentally. 

In this article, we will learn the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for ingrown toenails.

How do I know if I have an ingrown toenail?

 ingrown toenail

The early warning signs of an ingrown toenail include 

    • skin becoming sore, puffy, or hard near the affected nail

    • affected toe hurts if any pressure is applied to it

If not treated in time, the toe nail bed may get infected. The following symptoms could appear if your toe is infected:

    • redness, and swelling around the toenail

    • intense pain 

    •  discharge of pus

    • bleeding

    • the skin around the affected toe starts bulging or growing rapidly

    • the affected toe may also be tender

If you notice any of these symptoms, please visit Dr. Leena Jain, a plastic reconstructive microsurgeon & hand surgeon in Mumbai, to prevent further damage.

What can cause an ingrown toenail?

This condition can affect both males and women. Although it can happen to any toe, an ingrown toenail commonly affects your big toe.

    • Numerous things, such as the following, might result in ingrown toenails:

    • Increased pressure from improperly fitting shoes that constantly squeeze your toes and toenails into a tight space. This can be seen in shoes that are too small, too long, or that taper at the end.

    •  Your chance of developing annoying ingrown nails is increased by genetic and inherited variables that affect the structure of your toes and nails.

    • Slightly bent nails force the nail to press against the edges and sides of your toes.

    • Nail damage, such as a former toenail injury from a kick, a blow, dropping a heavy object on it, or being hit by a slammed door.

    • Poor nail-cutting techniques, such as cutting toenails too short or only trimming the edges. This causes the skin around the nail to curl up around it, enabling the nail to pierce the skin.

    • Sweaty or wet feet soften the skin, which facilitates toenail insertion.

Ingrown toenails are typically troublesome and eventually need surgical treatment.

Onychocryptosis

What are the home treatment options for ingrown toenails?

You can try these home remedies for an ingrown toenail:

    1. Soak the affected feet in warm water 3 – 4 times a day for 15 – 20 minutes each. Dry your feet thoroughly after each session. Please ensure that you keep your shoes dry

    1. Apply a topical antibiotic cream like neomycin and polymyxin (both are ingredients in Neosporin) or steroid creams to prevent infection

    1. If these treatments do not work, please consult a highly-skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Leena Jain for an effective surgical procedure.

What is the surgical treatment for an ingrown toenail?

ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails can be treated surgically in the following way:

    1. Wedge excision of Nail Bed

The surgery for ingrowing toenails is done under local anaesthesia as a daycare procedure. Small injection is given around the base of the great toe to make it numb. Nail plate on affected side is removed and the edge of nail bed that is growing into the nail fold is excised all the way to depth of nail fold. 

Wedge of adjacent inflamed skin is also excised. The freshened skin edge is then sutured to nail bed edge and dressing applied. The wound dries up in 10-12 days. This surgery provides a permanent solution to a chronic problem without any scope for recurrence.

Conclusion

Ingrown toenails can be painful and uncomfortable. Taking proper care of your feet and nails can help to prevent an ingrown toenail.

An ingrown toenail’s greatest danger is that it could get infected if you do not take care of it in time. 

The treatment for an ingrown toenail is relatively straightforward, and you may take precautions to ensure that it does not happen again.

Get rid of that ingrown toenail and pain, and get back on your feet!