The ingrown toenail is a condition in which the toenail instead of growing normally enters the skin and starts growing within the body. This is a common form of nail disease. As the nail keeps growing it cuts into the nail bed either on one side or it could be both sides also. Though this can happen for any nail, it is found to be more common with toe nail.
The causes of ingrown toenail are given below.
- Bad maintenance of the nails such as cutting nail too short, rounding off at the tip or peeling off at the edges.
- Ill fitting shoes either too tight or too narrow. This can cause the toes to be bunched together causing the nail to curl and dig into the skin.
- Injury to the flesh around the nail to make it grow irregularly
- Nail deformities
The symptoms of ingrown toenail include pain along the nail margin, pin getting worse with wearing of shoes, and sensitivity to pressure. It can get easily infected if proper care is not taken once the problem is noticed. The signs of infection include redness and swelling at the base of the nail.
In the initial stages some traditional methods can be tried to get relief from the problem.
- The foot has to be soaked in warm water three to four times a day. Epsom salt can be used in the water. Over-the-counter antiseptic can be applied.
- Foot has to be washed with soap and water twice a day and it should be kept clean the rest of the day.
- Wearing of high heeled and tight fitting shoes are to be avoided till such time that the toenail problem is not resolved. Comfortable sandals are to be worn during this period.
- Peroxide can be used for minor infections. If the wound is not deep the use of iodine can be considered as it can prevent bacterial growth.
- An attempt has to be made to lift the toenail and make it come out of the skin. Towards this end a cotton roll can be inserted below the nail bit by bit over several days. It is going to be painful but very effective. One can see lot of improvement in two weeks time and the nail is not poking anymore into the skin.
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