What is an Ingrown Toenail?
An ingrown toenail is the term used to describe the injury suffered when the toenail grows into the skin. In some cases the toenail will heal on its own. In instances where the pain and swelling continues to increase, an ingrown toenail removal may be required to provide adequate relief. This can often times lead to skin irritation, swelling and in some cases the skin may break open. If the ingrown toenail causes the skin on the toe to break, it can lead to an infection. If a toe infection is present, it is important to seek medical attention to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment to begin the healing process as soon as possible.
Medical Definition of an Ingrown Toenail
With an ingrown toenail, the distal margin of the nail grows in the adjacent skin causing irritation, inflammation, and possibly bacterial or fungal infection. An ingrown toenail is virtually limited to the great toe and is typically associated with improper trimming of the toe nail, tight shoes, thickened nail, direct trauma, or any combination of these factors. With improper trimming the toenail is cut in a curved fashion similar to trimming fingernails and this allows the sharp edge of the nail to grow into the more prominent skin margins.
- Infected Toenail
What are the symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail?
- Stage 1 (Inflammation)-induration, swelling, and tenderness along the nail fold.
- Stage 2 (Abscess)-serious drainage, increased tenderness, increased erythema.
- Stage 3 (Granulation)-granulation tissue grows onto the nail, inhibiting drainage.
- Turf Toe
- Broken Toe
Treatment of Ingrown Toenail
- Soak the injured nail in warm water
- Proper nail trimming.
- Getting fit with the appropriate shoe wear.
- Insert cotton or dental floss under the imbedded nail to help lift the edge.
- If pain becomes unbearable your doctor can remove the portion of the toenail causing the problem.
- Ingrown Toenail Removal
Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (468-469)