A true ingrown toe nail is a nail that instead of growing forward and out as usual, actually grows into the flesh. The big toe is most commonly effected, however any toe nail can ingrow.
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of an ingrown toe nail. Common factors include the shape of the nail, abnormal pressure upon the surrounding flesh pushing it against the nail and a poor nail cutting technique. Whatever the cause, the problem is best dealt with as soon as it develops.
Incidence / Age
An ingrown toe nail is a common foot health complaint. They can occur at any age, though most commonly in adolescence.
Symptoms / Signs
An ingrown toe nail will usually result in pain on compression of the flesh about the toe nail. As it develops the toe will throb and become very painful to touch. The flesh about the nail may appear inflamed (hot, red and swollen) and occasionally discharge from the surrounding skin may be noted. Ingrown toe nails are often complicated by infection.
All ingrown toe nails require a visit to a State Registered Podiatrist / Chiropodist or Doctor. If inflammation about the toe appearsto be spreading towards the foot, immediate treatment with antibioticsmay be required to arrest and treat any active infection.
There are no effective self treatments available for a true ingrown toe nail. Your best course of action is to consult a State Registered Podiatrist / Chiropodist or your General Practitioner.
Clinical and surgical treatments
Most ingrown toe nails are best addressed surgically. There are a number of surgical procedures that are used to cure ingrown toe nails. It is not always necessary to remove the whole nail, often the removal of a small section of nail from the ingrown side is sufficient. Different techniques are employed during the operation to prevent the removed nail regrowing, making the result of the operation permanent. Nail surgery is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic. The anaesthetics used removes all pain sensation during the procedure.
Some ingrown toe nails can be treated conservatively. Conservative care is indicated for ingrown nails that may be the result of a poor nail cutting technique or for individuals who’s general health may contraindicate surgical intervention.
Outcome / Prognosis
Ingrown toe nails always require professional consultation and treatment. Conservative and surgical treatments are available to alleviate or cure the condition. Once correctly treated future problems with the affected nail are very unlikely. Cosmetically nail surgery need not be notable in the majority of cases.