What are ingrown toenails?
· Ingrown nails occur when the nail grows into the skin on the sides of the toe. When this happens inflammation occurs which appears red and can be painful
· If left untreated, it becomes swollen, more painful and produces significant discomfort and even disability, which affects quality of life.
· Infections are possible too as bacteria can be introduced when skin is broken. As such, there may be pus/discharge from the toe.
· It can happen to anyone but most of the time is present in teenagers and young adults.
· The big toenail is most affected
What causes them?
· Improper trimming of nails- you can leave a spike of nail in the corner, and when it grows it damages the flesh around the toe
· Tight shoes – soccer boots can be a big culprit
· Excessive sweating
· Injuries to the toe and nail
· Some medications
· Nail abnormalities such as curved nailbeds, thickening of the nail, malalignment of the nail
A true ingrown toenail is when there is a break in the skin. However many other nail types can cause pain at the sides of the nail.
An involuted nail is when the nail is curved significantly and puts pressure on the skin at the sides of the nail
For some patients they simply have a very wide nail which again puts increased pressure on the sides of their toe
Thickened nails (either due to trauma or fungal infection) can also cause pain due to increased pressure