Ingrown nail - Disease - Saglik Lokman

Glossary of diseases

Ingrown nail

Medical name (Onychocryptosis)

Possible Symptoms

Changes in the nails Toe swelling

Short description

An ingrown nail occurs when the edge of the nail grows down and into the skin. It often happens to toenails, especially the big toe. It is often caused by inappropriate nail trim. Trimming the nails straight across can prevent the problem. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication and warm salt water can be used to relieve the discomfort. If the condition does not improve, a doctor should be consulted and sometimes surgery will be necessary.


An ingrown nail describes a condition where the nail does not grow over the flesh, but instead grows into the flesh. Ingrown nails usually occur to toenails, usually the big toe is affected. An ingrown toenail is common among athletes. The condition is associated frequently with injuries of toes and inappropriate shoe gear. Without appropriate treatment, the condition can recur. It is not necessary to receive medical treatment but if an infection is found, oral antibiotics will be required. Ingrown nails cause considerable discomfort but do not affect daily activities to a great extent since the affected person still will be able to walk. This is different from paronychia that is seen as similar but makes the person unable to walk easily.

Occurrence and Symptoms

An ingrown nail is often caused by cutting the toenails too short or rounding the nail edges or by wearing ill-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that presses the nail into the toe. An ingrown nail can develop after an injury, like jamming or stubbing the toe. When the condition that causes the ingrown toenail continues, tissue overgrowth over the nail may lead to permanent changes in the tissue. This may cause an infection, swelling and pain.

Consequences and Treatment

In order to prevent ingrown nails, one should always trim the nail straight across. If there is slight pain and the nail starts to grow into the skin along the side, one can try soaking the affected foot in warm salt water for 20-30 minutes at a time. After soaking the nail may get freed out of the skin and with a band aid between nail and the nail wall the affected tissue can get relieved. In case the pain persists or a purulent infection occurs, one should visit a doctor for a professional medical treatment. The doctor may perform a small surgical procedure to remove the infected area and the causative part of the nail. Afterwards the nail can grow healthy again.

Where could I go?

Dermatology General surgery Plastic surgery

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