Ingrown Nail Care
Ingrown nails can be one of the most painful foot conditions. It is a very common complaint at the Podiatry clinic. The medical terminology for an ingrown toe nail is Onychcryptosis, for an infected toe nail the term is Paronychia. The nail plate may be curved into the skin, or the skin may be enlarged and folds into the nail plate.
Symptoms of an ingrown nail usually start as a mild pain along the side of the toenail. In time the soft tissue will start to swell and turn red in colour, there may be an infection if it becomes warm, painful, with noted drainage and bleeding from a granuloma along the side of the nail plate. An Ingrown nail is more common in the big toe, but may occur in the lesser digits.
Causes of an ingrown nail may be multi-factorial. An ingrown nail may be caused by genetics, improper shoe gear, foot biomechanics, diseased nail plate, improper trimming of nails, and local trauma to the nail plate.
Podiatric Care of ingrown nail may include the use of oral or topical antibiotics and soaking the foot in Epsom salt in warm water to prevent or treat an infection in the toe. For some ingrown nails the offending nail can be trimmed back to see if it will grow straight but unfortunately more often then not, if you have an ingrown nail, or history of a recurrent ingrown nail a procedure may be required to remove the offending nail corner permanently.
Surgery to an ingrown is a common procedure in podiatrist office. This is frequently performed under local anesthetic in the podiatric office. The discomfort of having an ingrown is much more unpleasant than having the injection to the toe. A pre-anesthetic is topically applied prior to the injection and after that the toe is completely pain-free. Today this procedure can be done without cutting the skin avoiding scars, sutures and post-operative pain. The ingrown nail border is removed non-traumatically with preservation of most of the nail plate and then the nail matix is destroyed not allowing for the re-growth of the offending nail border. After the procedure, the toe is wrapped with sterile gauze with instruction to soak in Epsom salt and application of an antibiotic cream. There are little restrictions post-operatively, and you literally walk away pain- free.