An ingrown toenail is a condition in which a curved toenail grows into the flesh, either on one or on both sides of the toe. The great toe is mainly affected by this condition, but it can occur on any other toe. This disorder can be very unpleasant as it causes pain, swelling, redness and sometimes even an infection. An ingrown toenail can usually be treated at home, but in more severe cases if an infection appears, especially if it is accompanied by pus discharge from the affected area, it is necessary to see your doctor because an untreated infection can lead to serious complications. For example, a bone under the nail can become infected, and in some cases, if left untreated, this condition can cause foot ulcer or even gangrene.
There are several factors that can contribute to this condition.The most common of them are:
- Heredity. Research has shown that this condition can be hereditary.
- Shoes of the improper size. Wearing too tight or improperly sized shoes and high heels can be responsible for an ingrown toenail as they put too much pressure on toenails.
- Improper trimming. People who trim their toenails improperly are susceptible to this condition. An ingrown toenail can be a consequence of a toenail that is trimmed too short or whose edges are trimmed round instead of straight.
- If a toe has been injured or stubbed, the chances of an ingrown nail increase.
- Fungal nail infections. They can cause nails to become thick or wide, thus increasing chances of an ingrown toenail.
Ballet dancers are especially prone to this condition because of a constant pressure that they put on their toes while dancing. Certain sports, for example football or tennis, also cause toe injuries that can lead to an ingrown toenail.
An ingrown toenail can be treated at home if the condition is not severe. In that case, there are several tips that can alleviate the pain and ease the symptoms:
- Soaking the feet in warm water
- Placing dental floss under the edge of the ingrown toenail, after soaking treatment
- Applying antibiotic cream to prevent infections
- Taking over-the-counter pain killers to relieve pain
- Choosing adequate and comfortable footwear also helps when you have ingrown toenail issues
Still, if the problem has become more serious and if the affected toe is red, swollen, painful and infected it is necessary to see your doctor. There are several procedures and medications that can be of help in this situation:
- Partial removal of the nail. If the same nail constantly grows into the flesh, part of it might have to be surgically removed. During this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the toe.
- Removal of the nail. This is the worst case scenario, and it is performed in situations when the same toenail keeps on growing into the flesh and causing infections. A laser or a chemical can be used to perform the toenail removal.
If you suffer from this painful condition, or if you need any advice regarding this or any other dermatological problem, make an appointment with our experienced Dubai dermatologists and leave the rest to us.