When trimming the toenails too short, especially on the sides of the big toes, it can set the stage for an ingrown toenail. Just like with many individuals, when trimming toenails, the corners might be tapered so that the nail curves with the shape of the toe. On the other hand, this will encourage the toenail to grow into the skin of the toe. The sides of the nail curl down and dig into the skin. An ingrown toenail can also develop if the shoes worn are too tight or too short.
When an ingrown toenail initially develops, it can be hard, tender or swollen. An ingrown toenail is considered as a common, painful condition particularly among adolescents. Any of the toenails can be affected, but the issue commonly involves the big toe. The ingrown toenail develops once the skin on one or all sides of the nail grows over the nail edges or when the nail grows into the skin. Pain, redness and swelling at corner of the nail can occur and infection will later on follow. Oftentimes, minimal pus can drain from the area.
An ingrown toenail can develop for various reasons. Some cases are considered congenital in which the nail is too large for the toe. Trauma such as stubbing the toe or the toe was stepped on can also lead to an ingrown nail. Nevertheless, the usual cause is using tight shoes or incorrect grooming and trimming of the nail.
An ingrown toenail must be treated as soon as possible. You can learn treatment options by enrolling in a first aid class today. If recognized early, home care is enough to prevent the need for further treatment.
- Immerse the foot in a basin with warm water 3-4 times daily.
- Keep the foot dry throughout the day.
- The individual should opt for comfortable shoes with enough room for the toes. It is best to use sandals until the condition clears up.
- Provide the individual with acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the pain.
In case there is no improvement in 2-3 days or the condition worsens, a doctor should be consulted. In some cases, you have to mildly raise the edge of the toenail from its implanted position and place a waxed dental floss or cotton amid the nail and the skin. Make sure that you will change this packing on a daily basis.
If there is severe inflammation, pain and swelling along with discharge, it indicates an infection and must be treated by a doctor. It is best to take oral antibiotics and the nail should be partially or completely removed. The doctor will surgically detach a region of the nail, part of the core nail bed, some of the neighboring soft tissues or a region of the growth center.
Remember that surgery is effective in eliminating the edge of the nail from growing inwards and cutting into the fleshy folds as it grows forward. The permanent elimination of the nail is recommended for children who suffer from lingering, persistent infected ingrown toenails.