Ingrown Toenail causes considerable pain in the toe. There are many symptoms for the same. Usually it causes pain and tenderness on either or both sides of the toenail. Swelling accompanied by fever also happens sometimes. Puss formation is also possible. The affected area becomes red and warmer than other parts of the foot.
There are a number of reasons for ingrown toenail. Not wearing the proper shoes is one prime reason. Improper cutting of the nails, injury to the nail base, are also reasons. In some people it may be inherited. The infection may spread, if not treated in the initial stage itself. The affliction may be chronic and it will appear as if there is no permanent cure. Usually the big toe is affected but it is possible with any toe.
Of all the reasons for ingrown toenail, the major cause is ill fitting shoes and defective trimming of nails. It so happens that the symptoms will appear only when the pain is noticed. The nail, if they happen to be bigger than the toes itself there is a possibility for the growth of toe nail. Children are not usually affected. It is a serious affliction for diabetics. If for any reason blood circulation to the feet is affected, very severe complications may result because of the ingrown toenail.
Temporary relief can be obtained by keeping the foot soaked in warm saline water. Infection may spread to the toe itself from the nail once the ingrown toenail takes hold. Injury to the toenail should be avoided always. Unnatural shape of the toenail, with extraordinary curvature is susceptible to the grown of ingrown toenail. While cutting the nail, care should be taken that it is not too short, it leaves the fleshy portion without any protection.
Infection of the foot due to ingrown toenail may be contagious and therefore it may spread to other members of the family also. Therefore treatment should start immediately and it can be done at home. Applying antiseptic is the first step. Soaking the feet a number of times every day, in salty warm water is a must. The warm water need not contain any antiseptic or antibacterial agent. Clean water will do. Padding with antiseptic cotton will help in stopping the puss coming out and also as a cushion against any external pressure.
It has been found that in majority of cases, coagulating the affected region with heated instrument or an alkaline substance has been very successful in treatment. With all steps being taken, unless the person chooses to wear the correct shoes, the problem will arise again and again. The essential point is that the toes should not get crowded within the shoe and they should have ample space in the shoes to occupy the necessary area required by them.
Sandals instead of shoes may be an option, the condition reaches normal. Use of antibiotics may help control the infection. Surgery is the last resort, done under local anesthesia. It will involve removing a part of the nail.