An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail curls down and digs into your skin, causing pain, inflammation, and even an infection.
When you first have an ingrown toenail, it causes the skin surrounding it to become hard, swollen and tender. Later, the affected area may get red and infected, and sometimes, a small amount of pus can be seen draining from the area too.
Ingrown toenails may develop due to many reasons but some of the most common ones include trimming your toenails too short, stubbing your toe, and wearing shoes that are too tight. However, some cases are congenital, in which the nail is too large for the toe.
A physical examination to assess the toe is usually enough to diagnose an ingrown toenail. If there is an infection, sometime an X-ray may be needed to check if there is spread of infection to the underlying bone.
It is advisable to treat ingrown toenails as soon as possible. Some at-home remedies to try include soaking your foot in warm water, wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and taking medications to reduce pain and inflammation. You may also wish to try lifting the edge of the ingrown toenail and placing some cotton between the nail and skin to relieve the pressure.
If there is recurrent pain and inflammation, or if there is an infection, your orthopaedic specialist may recommend removing the ingrown portion of the nail (wedge resection), together with the adjacent inflamed or infected tissue. This is a minor procedure that can be performed as a day surgery under local anaesthetic.
Every case is different; hence it is best to consult an orthopaedic specialist for an accurate diagnosis so that you can obtain the best treatment option that is most suitable for you. Reach out to us today if you are suffering from an ingrown toenail and let us help you enjoy a better quality of life.