What is an ingrown toenail? Get insights on the meaning, causes and its symptoms. You will also explore more about an infected ingrown toenail, causes and signs of an infection and how it is treated.
What Is an Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail is also known as unguis incarnates. It is a common condition that causes the corners or the sides of a toenail to grow into the soft tissues of the toe that are adjacent to the nail. This condition is quite common on the big toenails and it results to pain, swelling and redness of the toe. Sometime it may also cause an infection according to mayoclinic.
Most people who have this condition, normally treats it by themselves using the various methods on how to fix an ingrown toenail. However, this condition may cause unbearable symptoms such as excessive paining and swelling and hence cause an urge of a doctor’s intervention. He or she may perform several treatments to relieve the discomfort and other complications.
If you have poor blood circulation to your feet due to diabetes and other peripheral vascular diseases, you are likely to suffer from complications of ingrown toenails. Removing the corners of your toenail can sometime be the solution to this condition. In some cases, you may be required to remove the whole nail to avoid its complications.
What Causes Ingrown Toenail
There are various causes that result to an ingrown toe nail. This condition may start by showing the various symptoms and if not controlled, it may lead to infected ingrown toenail. The possible causes includes the following:
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes that crowd your nails
This includes shoes that have inadequate toe-box room, tight stockings and socks that causes pressure on the toenails and the skin around. Crowding of the toes in its development stages especially among individuals who are below the age of 21 may cause curling of the nails that results to piercing into the skin. Shoes that are too short or narrows may result to this condition.
- Poor nail care
Cutting your toenails too short or not straight on the edges encourages the skin to fold over the nail. This may therefore result to the nail to grow into the folded skin. This may cause ingrown toenail pain and other symptoms. You are supposed to cut the edges in a rounded shape rather that straight and sharp.
- The natural shape of the toenail
You are likely to suffer from this condition if you have natural toenails that curves towards the soft tissues of your toe. The curve side will therefore curve and pierce through the adjacent tissues causing pain and swelling of the toe. This may be caused by genetic susceptibility and diseases that may cause permanent deformation of the toenails.
Trauma on the nail plate or on the toe may also cause your nails to grow into the skin. The trauma may be caused by stubbing the toenail, knocking your toe against an object, falling or dropping of a heavy object on the toenail and other injuries from ill-fitting shoes. This may cause your nail to grow in an irregular shape that may easily pierce through the soft tissues of your toe, according to Wikipedia.
- Bacterial and fungal nail infections
Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause various toenail condition that may result to ingrown toenails. This infections may cause excessive sweating of the toe which softens the tissues and making it easier for the nail to push itself into the skin tissues. They also causes infected ingrown toenail when not controlled on time.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenail is a common condition that mostly affects the outer edges of the bigger toe, you are likely to experience the following symptoms?
- Pain and tenderness of the affected area
- Redness around the affected toenail
- Swelling of the tissues around the affected toe
- An infection that may cause yellow or green discharge
- Warmth on the affected toe
- The area may cause bleeding.
You may feel a lot of pain due to hyper granulation that may be taking place around the margins. The pain may become excess especially when wearing a tight closed shoe. The affected toe becomes hypersensitive to any kind of pressure. You may feel the pain even from the light weight of bed sheets. Such pains may cause an urge of ingrown toenail removal to get rid of its discomfort.
Poor cleaning and care may lead to symptoms of ingrown toenail infection. If you fail to take the necessary measures early, you may start experiencing pain, swelling, redness and draining of discharge from the affected toe. This condition may cause a lot of discomfort.
If you may start experiencing the above symptoms, it is advisable to visit your general practitioner or a foot care specialist for treatment before the condition may become even worse.
Infected Ingrown Toenail
Ingrown toenail may be caused by a tender bacterial of a fungal infection. The infection may start suddenly or gradually by entering your body through the cracks and openings caused by the ingrowing toenails into the skin. Such infections may cause inflammation, redness, swelling and drainage of discharge from the affected toenails.
The fungal infections may not cause more problems if you have a strong immune system. This condition may become worse to people who have weak immune systems and who are suffering from conditions like diabetes. If you have such problems, it is advisable to visit your doctor right away for treatment before this infection may causes life threatening complications.
Different kind of fungi such as yeast, molds and others may cause nail fungal infections. Most of the infections are caused by the same fungus that causes conditions like athletes foot. You may use infected ingrown toenail home remedies to tackle this condition before it becomes worse.
The fungal infections survives best in warm and moist places. They can enter though the openings caused by ingrown toenails by walking barefooted in public showers and pools. Sharing of personal items like nail clippers can also cause the spread this infection from one person to the other.
When the fungal infection is not controlled on time, it can spread to other parts of your body. This may make it difficult to be controlled. When the toenails are infected, they may turn the color to yellow or white, get thicker and may also get deformed. This may result to splitting of the nail that may eventually separate from the skin.
When you are infected with this condition, it causes pain especially when wearing a shoe. It may also cause a lot of discomfort when you stand for a long time. When this condition stay for long without treatment, it causes permanent damage on your nails and therefore to need to give this condition some serious medication by visiting your doctor.
He or she may be required to have a close examination of your nails. Some tests may be performed to determine the exact cause of your infection. You may be given prescribed anti-fungal medicines that will help in treating your condition. You may take them for some month or more depending with the damage caused by this infection. According to WebMD.
What Causes Infected Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail infections are caused by:
- Nail fungus
Ingrown toenail fungus infections occurs when the different types of fungus enters your body through openings and small cracks cause by trauma on the nail and the soft tissues around it. In most cases, the fungal infection is not caused by poor hygiene. It normally spreads from infected person to the others.
Different types of fungi such as yeast and mold are normally found in warm and dumpy areas. Such areas include swimming pools and public showers. The fungal infection can easily affect your nails when walking through such places without covering your foot
- Poor hygiene
Poor hygiene may also lead to bacterial infections on your ingrown toenail. Wearing of dirty shoes may be containing a bacteria that can cause an infection on your toenails. Different bacteria and other micro-organisms will enter your body through the small cracks caused by the ingrowing nails.
You are supposed to clean the affected area daily using warm sea salt water to kill the germs. Bacterial infections causes swelling, pain, redness and presence of yellow of greenish discharge from the affected areas. Most of the bacterial infections may require doctor’s treatment to heal.
- The use of unsterilized equipment’s
You may use unsterilized nail clippers that may introduce germs on the affected areas while trying various methods on how to treat ingrown toenail. You need to sterilize such equipment before trying to fix this condition.
Ingrown Toenail Infection Symptoms
Exposing your ingrown toenail to dirty and poor hygienic conditions may lead to an infection of your toe. You will be able to know that your toe is infected by observing the symptoms below.
- Excessive paining
- Swelling of the whole toe.
- Presence of yellow of green discharge
- Bad smell
The affected toe may become resistance to normal treatments that you may be performing while at home. It may also take a long healing duration that is accompanied with excessive paining, swelling and irritations. You are supposed to visit your doctor right away you start experiencing the above symptoms.
Infected Ingrown Toenail Treatment
If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail infection, there are various treatment that you can use to prevent the infection from becoming worse. By applying the treatments below, you will be able to get back to your normal health after a little time. They include:
- Warm water soak. Soak the affected ingrown toenail in warm soapy water for 10-15 minutes 3 times daily until the condition improves. Warm water soak is an effective remedy on how to treat an ingrown toenail infection at home. It helps in relieving pain, redness and swelling from the infected area.
- Use antibacterial ointments. Apply a thick layer of antibacterial ointment of the infected area. Ointments such as Neosporin help in killing the bacteria from the area. Wrap the affected toe in a bandage to prevent re-infection and other contaminations from dust particles. Change the bandage every time you re-apply the ointment.
- Pull the edge of nail slightly above by propping. This treatment is medically recommended to prevent the nail from digging into the soft tissues of your toe. You may use a cotton wool or a thick floss that is placed under the edge of the nail. You may dip the cotton into an antiseptic liquid to prevent re-infection.
- Visit your foot doctor for treatment. The infection may become resistant so some of home remedy ingrown toenail relief. Visiting a foot doctor may help in getting treatment for your condition. After diagnosis, you may be prescribed some antibiotic medicines. He or she may also perform surgical operation to remove the ingrown toenail.
Ingrown Toenail Pictures
You can also learn from the various picture that are showing ingrown toenail. From the pictures, you will be able to see that, this condition mostly affects the bigger toenail. The nail digs into the soft tissues that are adjacent to it. From the pictures you are also be able to see the various symptoms such as swelling, redness and presence of discharge.
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