Ingrown Toenails (Onychocryptosis)
When a toenail is ingrown, it is curved and grows into the surrounding skin as the nail grows. This ingrowing of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe.
The term “ingrown toenail” is often used to describe a number of problems that lead to pain and discomfort around the nails despite the fact that in many cases the nail does not actually “grow” in to the skin around it. These problems most commonly occur on the big toe, however, smaller toes can also be affected.
Some common symptoms associated with ingrown toenails include;
- Pain along the side of the nail.
- Swelling, warmth and redness of the toe.
- Presence of fluid or pus.
Some common causes of ingrown toenails include;
- Improper cutting of nails – most common cause of ingrown toe nails.
- Poor fitting footwear – tight shoes.
- Hereditary – involuted (curved toe nail).
- Trauma – dropping something on your toe, stubbing your toe or activities that require repeated pressure on your toes (kicking, running).
The best way to reduce the pain of an ingrown toenail and the associated infection, is to have the irritating portion of the nail removed by a podiatrist. If this irritation is not removed, then infections (and pain) caused by ingrown toenails often return.
Those who have a medical infection such as diabetes or poor circulation, an ingrown nail infection can put them at high risk and it is extremely important they seek medical attention from a podiatrist.
At Sydney Foot Clinic the following treatments are offered for ingrown toe nails;
- Conservative/preventative measures – cutting and removing the offending nail spicule.
- Surgical measure – a minor procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic for reoccurring ingrown toe nails Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA)