What is it?
An ingrown toenail is also known as onychocryptosis. It is a common condition that occurs when part of the nail pierces the skin on the toe, which can often cause pain and sometimes an infection. The ingrown toenail can also cause discomfort without piercing through the skin because it can lead to increased pressure at the side of the toe/nail fold from the nail pinching on the toe. In addition to pain, there may be swelling, redness and discharge of clear or yellow fluid from the side of the toe.
Why it is happening now?
Ingrown toenails can occur from several factors. The most common cause is incorrect nail trimming technique. Other common causes of an ingrown toenail include:
- Congenital toenail/toe shape. ie. An involuted nail that is more curved from side to side
- Pressure from poor fitting shoes, neighbouring toes or tight socks/hosiery
- Poor foot hygiene
- Fungal nail infection
- Pregnancy or obesity which affects the size of the toe
Can it be fixed?
Yes! A skilled podiatrist can remove the corner of nail that has pierced the skin, often with very little discomfort. However, if the toe is very sore, local anesthetic may be used to ease the pain. It is important to remove the protruding piece of nail as infection is likely to persist and may worsen if it is not removed. Your podiatrist will also talk to you about some steps you should follow to promote healing of the toe, such as
- Trimming the nail straight
- Do not pick or tear the nail
- Avoid wearing shoes and socks/hosiery that are too tight
- Keep feet clean to avoid potential infections
- Regular treatment with the podiatrist
- Nail surgery