Ingrown Toenail Removal – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
By Space Coast Daily // June 22, 2020
Naturally, nails, both fingernails, and toenails, are expected to grow straight and upward. However, there are cases where nails curve inward, exerting pressure on the adjacent skin or nail bed so much that it eventually grows into it. This scenario is referred to as an ingrown nail.
It is almost exclusive to toenails perhaps because they are far more exposed to pressure and injuries. Among these toenails, the big toe suffers from a curved and ingrown nail more than others.
Though an ingrown toenail only causes inflammation at the early stage, it could get infected if not treated early. Once infected, it becomes more trouble and sometimes ends up in the partial or total removal of the toenail. Hence, it is imperative to start the treatment of ingrown toenails as soon as you see the symptoms.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail
The early-stage symptoms
■ The surrounding skin or nail bed becomes inflamed, hard, and tender. This comes with considerable pain especially when pressure is applied.
■ Pressure is felt beneath the nail as fluid gathers around and beneath the toenail.
Symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail
■ The adjacent skin of the nail becomes more inflamed and redness sets in. At this level, the pain will be excruciating and the skin will start growing over the nail.
■ Pus: this is a key symptom for diagnosing an infected ingrown toenail. Pus is usually brown, white, or green and often has a foul odor.
Causes of an ingrown toenail
There are several risk factors contributing to the development of an ingrown toenail, they include:
■ Poor nail cutting habit: usually, we follow the curve of nails when cutting them. This act of cutting the edges of the nail encourages the nail to grow into the surrounding skin. Also, we often make the mistake of cutting the toenails too short. This can cause an awkward growth of the toenail into the nail bed.
■ Ill-fitting footwear: ill-fitted footwear is a top cause of an ingrown toenail. In tight socks or shoes, the toes get cramped together forcing the toenails to exert pressure on the adjacent skin. If this continues long enough, the toenail would start growing awkwardly into the surrounding skin.
■ Injury: injury is another major player in the incidence of an ingrown toenail. Injuries to the toenails can be caused by hitting the feet against hard objects or dropping a heavy object on the toes.
■ Congenital toes or toenails deformity: the nail bed might be too small or the nails come in a curved shape. These two things are key causes of an ingrown toenail.
Other causes include poor posture and underlying health issues.
Treatment of an ingrown toenail
■ Ingrown toenail removal
In acute cases of an ingrown toenail, e.g. infected ingrown toenail, small nail bed, and congenital abnormalities, partial or total removal of the toenail might be necessary. Consult an expert to get this done efficiently without making the matter worse. Partial removal of the toenail will be followed by treatment to ensure the side removed does not regrow.
If you begin treatment early for most cases of an ingrown toenail, removal of the toenail will not be needed. Early treatment options include:
■ Emoninail for preventing an ingrown toenail
Emoninail does not work to correct a curved or an ingrown toenail; it is rather very useful in the prevention of an ingrown toenail or the treatment of an infected ingrown toenail. Thick nail is one of the causes of an ingrown toenail, using emoninail will help to restore the nail to its best.
■ Foot soak and application of antibiotic ointment
This is a remedy that can be efficiently done at home. Soak the affected foot in a solution of warm water and salt for about 15 minutes. Then use a cotton ball to move the adjacent skin away from the nail and pull the nail up carefully. Dental floss should be placed beneath the nail to make it grow away from the skin. After this, apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area to avoid infection.
■ Toe brace
Toe brace is a very useful treatment option for an ingrown toenail. Braces redirect the growth of the toenail gradually until it is off the surrounding skin.
An ingrown toenail can be easily treated at home if treatment is started early but once an infection sets, you could require the service of an expert.
This may include partial or total removal of the infected toenail. Do not remove the nail yourself as this may cause bigger damage. Embracing proper foot hygiene and paying attention to your toenails are important for keeping a healthy foot.
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