An ingrown nail is known as onychocryptosis. This is a condition in which the nail penetrates the nail bed and the nail becomes embedded in the skin.
Who gets ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails can affect both men and women. Young men and active, sporty people are particularly prone to the condition as their feet tend to sweat more. This can cause the skin around the toenail to soften and split, resulting in an ingrown toenail. Poor nail cutting skills can also contribute to the condition. As people age, their nails can become thicker and more difficult to cut, causing pressure to build up around the nail edge.
An ingrown toenail develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which then becomes red, swollen and tender. The toe can also be painful when pressure is placed on it. Ingrown toenails most commonly affect the big toe but can affect any toe where pressure is exerted.
What treatment can a foothealth practitioner provide?
For the most basic, painful ingrown toenail, treatment would involve removal of the offending spike of nail and application of an aseptic dressing if required.
If the condition is chronic (long standing) or the nail shape is too contorted, removal of part or of all of the nail may be the only choice of treatment. In these circumstances a referral to a qualified podiatrist is required for consultation to discuss minor nail surgery with the use of a local anaesthetic.
If the ingrown toenail becomes infected, immediate treatment is required and it may be necessary to seek medical advice and administration of antibiotics, prior to treatment.