Ingrown toe nails (onychocryptosis) are a common foot condition. The condition can be extremely painful. An ingrown nail occurs when the toe nail grows into the nail bed (paronychium) piercing the skin.
- Pain along the side of the nail
- Throbbing pain over the whole toe
- Swelling and redness of the toe
- Hyper-granulation tissue around the ingrowing nail spur
- Excruciating pain if the toe is knocked
The primary causes of ingrowing nails are as follows:
- Footwear – Tight fitting shoes, socks or compression stockings can place pressure on the side of the toes causing the nails to ingrow.
- Poor nail care – cutting down the side of the nail, picking at nails or cutting nails too short can all lead to an ingrowing nail.
- Trauma – Trauma to the nail such as dropping a heavy object on the toe or stubbing the toe along the ground can lead to nails ingrowing.
- Activity – Sporting and leisure activities such as jogging and football can place abnormal pressure on the nails, causing them to ingrow.
- Genetics – Nails come in all different shapes and sizes. People with more involuted (horse shoe shaped) nails tend to be predisposed to nail problems such as ingrowing.
Other similar conditions include:
- Callus or corns along the nail sulci
- Involuted (horse-shoe shaped) nails pinching skin under the nail
These conditions can also cause severe pain and are often found in conjunction with an ingrown nail.
Ingrown nails can be prevented by proper nail care. This includes cutting the nail straight across and not down the sides of the nail. Avoid foot wear with a narrow toe box and ensure you are wearing a shoe size that adequately accommodates your foot.
Conservative treatment – A podiatrist will typically attempt to remove the part of the nail that is ingrowing by using technique called a partial wedge resection. If this is unsuccessful nail surgery may be required.
Nail Surgery – A partial nail avulsion is a minor surgical procedure performed by podiatrists. It involves the administering of a local anaesthetic followed by the permanent removal of one or both sides of the nail.
This normally provides a permanent solution to ingrowing nail problems, the remaining nail typically has a normal appearance, though narrower than prior to the procedure. As with any surgical procedure there is a risk of infection, regrowth and altered nail appearance. However, at Wilson Podiatry, every precaution is taken to minimise these risks. More detailed information on our Nail Surgery Package of Care is available HERE.
For more information or to book an appointment, Contact Us or ring 01483 725 600.