Ingrown toenails causes, symptoms and treatment

What are Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails are a common condition, typically affecting the big toe. They occur when the toenail, particularly at the corners, grows into the surrounding skin instead of over it. This often leads to pain, swelling, and discomfort in the affected area.

Causes and risk factors

Several factors contribute to the development of ingrown toenails. These include:

  • Nail Shape: Some individuals naturally have toenails that curve downward, making them more prone to becoming ingrown.
  • Nail Trimming Technique: Cutting toenails too short, especially at the corners, can encourage ingrowth.
  • Footwear: Wearing tight shoes or those with narrow toe boxes can exert pressure on the toes, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails.

Recognizing symptoms

The hallmark signs of an ingrown toenail include pain, redness, and swelling around the affected nail. In some cases, the ingrown nail may become infected, leading to the formation of pus and worsening discomfort. It's important to differentiate between bacterial infections, which cause redness and drainage, and fungal infections, characterised by thickened, discoloured nails.

Home Remedies for Ingrown Toenails

Early intervention is crucial to prevent worsening symptoms and potential complications. At-home remedies for ingrown toenails include:

  • Soaking: Soak the affected toe in warm, salty water two to three times a day to help reduce inflammation and soften the skin.
  • Keep Dry: After soaking or bathing, thoroughly dry the affected area and wear clean, breathable socks to promote healing.
  • Footwear: Opt for shoes with wide toe boxes and adequate room for toes to prevent further pressure on the ingrown nail. Open-toed shoes or sandals can provide relief by allowing air circulation.

Professional Treatment Options

If home remedies fail to alleviate symptoms or if ingrown toenails become recurrent, seeking professional treatment is advisable. Surgical intervention may be necessary to address the underlying issue effectively. This typically involves a procedure known as a partial nail avulsion, where a portion of the ingrown nail and its nail bed is removed to prevent regrowth. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and boasts a quick recovery time, with most individuals able to return to normal activities within about two weeks.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of these conditions is crucial for seeking timely medical attention. Mr Francesc Malagelada is dedicated to diagnosing and treating various foot and ankle conditions, providing personalised treatment plans to address your specific needs and help you get back on your feet comfortably. Contact us and book an appointment today!

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This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult your physician for personalised guidance. In case of a medical emergency, contact your doctor or emergency services.