Ingrown toenail also called onychocryptosis is a condition
in which the nail grows into one or both sides of the toe,
cutting into the edges of the toe. As the nail grows and cuts
into the sides of the toe called the paronychium it often
becomes infected leading to a condition called paronychia.
an ingrown nail include pain along the margins of the nail.
Pain may be worsened by pressure from foot wear. As the condition
progresses, pressure of any sort often produces sharp pain.
Signs of infection include redness and swelling along the
borders of the nail. There may be drainage or pus with blood
from the sides of the toe. Most commonly the big toe is affected
by an ingrown nail although any of the toes may be affected.
Causes of ingrown toenail include tight fitting foot wear
or tight stockings that apply pressure to the top or sides
of the nail. Improper cutting of the nails may also lead to
an infgrown toenail caused the nail cutting into the sides
of the toe as it regrows. Trauma to the nail such as from
stubbing the toe or dropping an object on the toe can cause
the nail or surround soft tissue to deform resulting in irregular
growth of the nail in relation to the toe. Abnormally shaped
nai b eds due to genetics or damage may also lead to an ingrown
Ingrown toenails may be avoided by cutting nails straight
across. Avoiding footwear that is too tight or too small may
also help prevent an ingrown nail from occurring. If a nail
requires that a wedge be removed from the corner, it is recommended
that this be done by a podiatrist.
In mild cases conservative treatment such as warm water soaks
may help relieve symptoms. If there is infection or if conservative
treatment is not effective, surgical treatment is advised.
Surgery initially involves partial or complete removal of
the nail depending upon how much of the nail is affected.
If it is a recurring condition a portion of the nail root
or nail matrix as it is called may be removed by a process
called partial matrixectomy which is intended to prevent regrowth
of the ingrown portion of the nail. This may be done on both
sides of the nail, if both are affected. If the entire nail
is problematic and permanent removal is intended a total matrixectomy
may be performed.