Onychocryptosis or more popularly known as ingrown toenails occurs when a part of the toenails starts digging into the surrounding soft tissues.
This often results to redness and inflammation.
Apart from being uncomfortable and painful, ingrown toenails can also lead to infections especially when left unattended.
In such cases, ingrown toenail surgery might be recommended.
The condition is more common in males than in females.
What are 10 of the likely causes of ingrown toenails?
- Tight, narrow, and very uncomfortable shoes that put too much pressure on the toenails. These kinds of shoes often end up compressing the nails, forcing them to change shape.
- The condition can also be attributed to a previous nail infection.
- Improper nail trimming which often causes the nails to dig deeper into the surrounding skin.
- Repetitive trauma including stubbing and kicking.
- Diabetes and obesity.
- Poor feet hygiene.
- Abnormally shaped nails and nail folds.
- Medications that compromise your system.
- Family history.
- Cardiac, renal, and thyroid disorders.
Proper treatment of ingrown toenails
While there are nonsurgical and conventional treatment options for ingrown toenails, ingrown toenail surgery is the ideal option in some cases.
Common symptoms of the condition include swelling, pain, and redness.
Treatment option will often depend on the condition’s severity, but surgery is highly likely when there is infection involved.
In most cases, diagnostic tests will not be required prior to the procedure but if your surgeon suspects there is an underlying condition, some tests might be required.
If you are considering ingrown toenail surgery, there are several factors you need to keep in mind.
Some of these factors include:
- Presence of infection
- Severity of the pain
- Previous ingrown infection
- Recurring ingrown toenails
- Other underlying medical condition like diabetes
- Patient’s preference
- Other conventional treatment options
What to expect after surgery
After the procedure, you will be sent home with the affected toe bandaged.
Your surgeon or doctor will most likely recommend that the affected foot be elevated at least for a day or two.
Bandage will also be removed after a day or two.
Saltwater soaks can help facilitate faster healing so it is also advisable.
Pain medications will also be given in order to keep infections at bay and to ease the pain.
For cases that do not require surgery, home remedies will suffice.
Below are some of the effective way you can treat ingrown toenails at home:
- Soak the affected toe at least twice daily in a warm salt water bath (15 minutes each time). This has been proven to help minimize both the pain and the swelling.
- Ensure the affected foot is always kept dry.
- Taking over-the-counter or OTC medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease the pain is also advisable.
- Separating the ingrown toenail and the skin by stuffing a tiny cotton soaked in antiseptic.
- Covering the area affected with Band-Aid or bandage for protection and padding.
- Inspecting the affected toe on a routine basis to ensure no signs of infection are present (i.e. pain, swelling, pus, etc.).