INGROWN TOENAILS | ONYCHOCRYPTOSIS
An ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis) is when a piece of the nail has started to grow into the skin surrounding the nail plate. This piece of nail is often referred to as a nail spicule. An ingrown toenail can be the result of improper nail trimming, narrow fitting footwear, trauma, foot shape and nail shape (hereditary). We always inform our patients that to avoid an ingrown toenail, always cut your toenails straight and avoid cutting down or on an angle as you move into the corners.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the ingrown toenail. We are strong believers that preventative medicine is the best medicine. The main treatment goal will be to remove the nail spicule. At Royal City Foot Clinic, we do everything in our power to make this comfortable for the patient. This may mean freezing (local anesthetic) the toe. Once the ingrown toenail is removed the next step will be to rid the area of any infection. Prescription antibiotics may be prescribed to help combat that. Finally, prevention will be vital to deter a repeat instance. All patients will be educated on knowledge and prevention techniques for ingrown toenails. If the ingrown toenail does continue to reoccur, surgical permanent removal may be required. You can find more information on that by clicking here.
The nail spicule will grow with the nail plate. In the primary stage the spicule may push on the surrounding tissue – this may be the start of the pain sensation. If left untreated, the spicule may puncture the skin and cause a portal of entry for pathogens (germs). This stage is more of a concern as pathogens can easily enter and cause infection. If an infection is present, the body will initiate an immune response, often presenting as a pus pocket with surrounding inflammation. The toe will now look red, feel hot to touch, appear swollen and be very painful to touch. In this situation, nail surgery is likely required.