A nail is said to be ingrown when it grows abnormally into peripheral tissues, which is responsible for inflammation. An ingrown toenail is localized in the majority of cases on the hallux, another name for the big toe. Fingernails may also become ingrown.
An ingrown nail is easy to spot with a portion of the nail that is buried under the skin. The nail may appear thickened. Pain is felt on the edge of the nail, and intensifies with pressure: wearing shoes or walking may become painful in advanced cases. The patient notes redness due to inflammation, sometimes with the presence of pus
. The affected area may be swollen. It also may happen that the skin is cut and a blister forms around the ingrown toenail.
The diagnosis is confirmed by clinical examination.
In the case of a secondary infection, antibiotic
therapy and sessions with a podiatrist
may be prescribed. The ingrown toenail may require surgery during which the ingrown nail is partially or, in extreme cases, completely removed. When the toenail is due to rubbing between the first and second toes, it is recommended the patient uses a toe separator to minimize any friction.
To prevent ingrown toenails, the solution is to observe impeccable hygiene. Nail cutting should be performed regularly with special disinfected scissors, and nails should not be too short on the sides so that they don't grow into the dermis. We must also take care to avoid:
- excess sweating of hands and feet;
- wearing shoes that are too narrow or too small that will put pressure on the toenails;
- wearing high heels on a regular basis.
Finally, it is advisable to consult a doctor in the case of:
- thickness of a fingernail or anomaly;
- nail trauma, regardless of origin.