Ingrown Toenails: Causes, Effects and Treatment

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What’s an ingrown nail? Would you be able to identify it if you see one? Here are a few useful tips on what in grown nails are and how to take care of them. Going to a podiatrist also helps as you can get first hand information of what ingrown nails are and how you can remove them without causing bodily harm.

Also called as onychocryptosis, an in grown toe nail is a symptom that occurs when the toe nail starts to grow into the skin. In such cases, the sides or corners of the nail start to curl down and dig into the skin. This causes swelling and irritation in the area in addition to leading to infections, deformations and other serious foot problems.

In addition to caring for in grown nails, it also helps if you find out ways to prevent it in the first place. Here are a few common causes for onychocryptosis.

Most of the time, a nail starts growing into the skin if the person tends to wear very tight shoes that press the sides of the nails, making them curl into the skin. Improperly maintained nails also cause a problem.

Trimming the nails correctly also plays an important role in preventing onychocryptosis. Don’t round off your nails while trimming them, rather cut them straight across. Fungal infections near the nail can also cause an ingrown nail to develop.

Acute injuries near the toes also cause ingrown nails. There is also a high chance of your inheriting ingrown nails from a family member who suffers from the same condition. And then there are some people who have naturally rounded nails which tend to dig into the skin as they grow.

Treatment: As soon as you spot an ingrown toe nail, clean it properly and disinfect it with a solution like alcohol or peroxide. It is also advisable to sterilise your toenail clippers in order to prevent infections.

Soak your foot in warm water or in betadine solution for a minimum of 10 minutes. This allows the nail and the skin around the affected toe to soften, thus minimising the pain. Dry your foot with a soft towel.

You need to clip off the ingrown nail to prevent further infections. If you are too timid to do it, ask a friend to help you out. Make sure to place the edge of the clippers under the nail’s border and clip the nail away without clipping the skin. Once done, remove the nail from the skin slowly.

After removing the nail, disinfect the area again. First apply some alcohol on the toe and then use betadine solution to disinfect it further. It might hurt a bit but it is considered wise to let the toe soak for at least 20 minutes in the solution.

Carefully place a small piece of cotton in between the nail and the skin. This prevents it from growing back into the skin. Apply an anti bacterial ointment and bandage your toe carefully.

Be sure to change the bandage everyday. Soak your toe in betadine solution for 20 minutes and pat it dry beore applying the new bandage and repeat the same for at least 3 to 5 days to make sure the nail doesn’t grow back.