An ingrown toenail is a painful condition, most commonly involving the large toe, whereby the nail grows into the paronychium (tissue along the side of the nail) or nail bed and pierces it, causing inflammation (redness, pain and swelling). Subsequently, the affected skin may become infected, which is a more serious concern. Those with diabetes should take extra care, as their condition can affect the way the toenail heals. Athletes, and people with foot or nail abnormalities are more prone to suffer from ingrown toenails.
The symptoms include a painful toe (especially along the margins), increased sensitivity of the affected toe, build-up of fluid around the affected toe (oedema) and pus leakage from toe if infected.
If you are concerned your toe may be infected, be sure to contact your GP.
Wearing tight-fitted shoes puts downward pressure on the nail, causing it to grow in an unnatural direction. Ingrown toenails are not found in populations who do not wear shoes. Cutting nail too short, or not in a straight line. Trauma to the toe, e.g. stubbing or dropping heavy objects on the toe. Sweaty feet soften the skin around the nail, making it easier for the nail to penetrate.
Antibiotics will be given if you have an infected nail. Sometimes a surgical route may be more appropriate. This may include a total nail avulsion to remove the toenail completely.
To prevent an ingrown toenail you should wear comfortable, loose-fitting shoes, soak the toe in warm water and cut the nail straight without a pointed edges.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.