Ingrown toe nails
An Ingrown toe nail is a nail that has a complex growth curved inwards or outwards into the flesh. It causes distress and a prolonged occurrence of this growth might lead to internal injury characterized by inflammation, pus formation and subsequent bleeding. It is advisable to treat the injury to avoid infection spreading to other areas of the toe.
Persons liable/likely to get ingrown toe nails
- Sportspersons who are involved in athletics as their toe line is subjected to repetitive pressure, sweating or injury.
- People who remove their toe nails more often
- Persons who cut the toe nail that has a complex growth into the flesh in order to get relief from the discomfort
Factors leading to the ingrown toe nails
- Hereditary influence may cause the ingrown toenails problem.
- Your standing/walking style, a swelling on the first joint of the big toe, an inward turn in the sole, and complex growth of the nails are some specific reasons.
- Use of tight footwear or socks will compress your toe flesh against the nail causing ingrown toe nails.
- Heavy sweating in the foot makes the skin soft, thereby assisting the penetration of the nail into the flesh.
- Fragile nails with sharp edges lead to the toenail injury problem.
- The most prevalent reason is not dressing up the toenails periodically.
Best practices to be followed
- Use nail cliippers with a shorter cutting blade and lengthy handle for cutting the nails. Do not cut the nail too deep at the adjoining portion of the skin. You may leave the corner portion of the nail so that it is visible over the skin.
- Make it a point to cut the toenails after a bath or washing your feet with ample quantity of water.
- Change your footwear before it gets dirty with sweat. Wash the dirty footwear and allow it to dry in sunlight before reuse. Always use shoes and socks made of natural fiber.
- Take a footbath with salty water to get interim recovery from the distress and also to guard your feet from infection.
- Dress the area of distress with a sterilized bandage and keep your foot at rest.
- If you are a diabetic patient, do not try to cut your nails.
This involves removal of the protruding portion of the nail and dressing with an antiseptic cream. If your toe is bleeding with discharge of pus, you need to take a suitable antibiotic to prevent infection.
A permanent remedy to the ingrown toenail problem can be obtained by the partial nail avulsion treatment. About one tenth of the nail including its root will be trimmed off making it smaller. Phenol is applied around the corner portion of the nail which arrests further growth of the nail thus ensuring a permanent solution to the problem.