Ingrown toenail is a typical result of poor or improper care about feet and toenails. It is presented with one or both corers of a nail cut and grown in soft tissues of a toe. It commonly happens with a big toe (hallux), however in rare cases ingrown nail can occur on other toes.
It is one of the difficult to early diagnose feet diseases as at the earliest stage of the condition it does not cause any discomfort or pain. When ingrown nail cuts deeper in soft tissues and passes keratodermic skin layer, then only the symptoms occur: pain, discomfort during walking, redness, inflammation. As a key complication an infection may develop as the ingrown nail provides a new entrance port for bacteria and fungi. If diagnosed early ingrown nails can be treated on your own at home without specific instruments and medications. However if the pain is unbearable and it is spreading to nearby tissues then seeing a doctor is inevitable. Such a condition is dangerous due to a high risk of complications.
What are the typical causes of ingrown toenail?
There are multiple reasons for a nail to start in-grow in your soft tissues, from traumas to specific physiological features, but the key reason of nails ingrowing is poor care.
If nails are uncut, or cut too short or not straight, then risks are that their sides will be in close contact with soft tissues. During stepping our feet and toes experience have weight load ensuring pressure working toward ingrowing.
The second most typical reason of toenails to in-grow are tight shoes ensuring additional pressure on the soft tissues and toenails and distorting your feet and toes.
A toenail may change a direction of its growth after severe injury.
What will happen if ingrown toenails left untreated?
It is very hard to identify whether a nail grown correctly or it grows in the skin. That is why patients commonly detect a problem when complications as redness and inflammation are already present. Complications will be even more severe if a patient has a problem of poor blood circulation or diabetes.
If left untreated an ingrown nail will cause inflammation of nearby tissues. In most cases patients see a doctor at this stage of diseases as pain gets unbearable and healthy fast walking is impossible. But there are cases when patients neglect a problem of toenail ingrowing. It will lead to blood flow interruption in certain areas of toe and this, in its turn, will result in tissues death and gangrene. Unfortunately a part of toe must be amputated in this case. In severely neglected cases patients lose an entire foot.
TIP: how to early diagnose an ingrown nail?
Nobody wants surgical intervention. But how to check your nails if a problem is almost impossible to diagnose early? In fact, there is way to find out whether your toenails are going to grow into the tissues. Just press a nail with your fingers. If you feel a sort of tingling from the sides of your nail, then it is an evident symptom of your nails growing incorrectly.
How to treat ingrown nails?
An ingrown toenail is a complex problem which includes: incorrectly growing nail, inflamed tissues, and causes which should be eliminated from your life for a problem not to reoccur constantly.
If your ingrown nail is just on the «tingling» stage, then you should take following steps:
soak your feet in warm to a hand hot water for about 10 minutes. Take a special tool from a nail grooming kit. Insert it under nail not very deep and try to lift it to such an extent when an ingrown edge will appear under the skin. Now you need to cut this edge and to shape your nails evenly.
To add curing effect to soaking you can add several spoons of backing soda or salt into the water. Such solution will reduce inflammation and redness.
Mind, you can treat ingrown toenail at home only if you do not have severe inflammation spread to other tissues and pis. If these symptoms are present you must see a doctor as you need a course of antibiotic treatment as chances are critically high that the condition is complicated with bacterial infection.
Clinical methods of ingrown nail treatment
If you visit a doctor you will probably get one of following treatments considering your condition:
Nail lifting and cutting — if you fail to present such a procedure at home due to severe pain or piss, but the problem has not yet developed into a severe one, then your doctor may help you adding anesthetic to numb the area and to freeze the pain.
Nail surgery and removal — in severe cases complicated with pis and inflammation spread to other tissues, your doctor may take a decision either to remove a part of the nail or an entire nail completely. Damaged with inflammation nails may go loose in their nail beds. In such a case our doctor will be unable to rescue your ingrown nail and it must be removed.