It Really Hurts to Have That Nail in Your Skin!

Ingrown toenails and why they're such a pain.

An ingrown toenail is a painful condition wherein the toenail seems to be digging into the surrounding tissues of the foot. It occurs mainly with the big toe but may also occur with any other toe.

Several factors can cause ingrown toenails. It may be due to trauma to the feet, congenitally aberrant nails, hypertrophy (abnormal growth of the nails) or abnormal curvature of the nails. Regardless of the cause, an ingrown nail usually appears as a nail that is too large for its nail bed.

As the nail grows into the surrounding tissues, it will cause these tissues to become inflamed and slightly swollen. You may initially feel some level of discomfort. Most of the time, you'll try to relieve this by removing the surrounding corners of the nail, but this usually leaves behind a sharp nail spicule that continues to grow deeper into the soft tissues of your feet, creating a painful situation. If left untreated, this nail spicule will cause even more inflammation and pain. In addition, an ingrown nail is prone to bacterial infection, causing even more pain and discomfort.

Initial treatment is geared toward removing the offending nail spicule. The foot is soaked in warm water with povidone-iodine. The foot may be given local anesthesia and then the spicule is removed. Disinfectants are then applied to the affected foot.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.



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