Ingrowing Toenails (Onychocryptosis)

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Ingrowing Toenails

An ingrown toe nail is one of the most painful conditions of the toes. When the edges of the nails grow into the skin of the toes it causes pain, swelling of the toe, pus formation and infection of the nails. This condition is mostly seen in adults and adolescents.

Causes of Ingrown Toenails:

Common factors that cause ingrown toenails are as follows.

  • Type of shoes: Some people have habit of wearing extremely tight shoes. Such shoes cause crowding of the toes and that puts extra pressure on the big toe. Due to this the edges of the nails tend to press on the nearby skin and the nails starts growing inwards. This is also true for the girls who wear shoes with very high heels. Due to high heels the position of foot remains very awkward. This puts tremendous pressure on the big toe while walking and standing. This results in the Ingrowing of the Toenails.
  • Way of trimming the nails: Always trim the nails in a straight line. By cutting the nails in a straight line, the edges will not press the underlying skin. Some people wrongly cut the nails by rounding off the corners of the nails. This causes the nail to dig into the flesh and the nail becomes ingrown.
  • Injury near the nails: Repetitive injury on the toes near the nails can cause the problem of ingrown toe nails. Such injuries are common in foot ball players and hockey players.
  • Familial tendency: If a person in the family is suffering from Ingrown Toe nails then it may be also seen in other siblings or close family members. It should be specified that this condition is not contagious but there is a familial trait responsible for this condition. Some people have curved types of nails by birth. There are higher chances of developing the ingrown toenails in such people.
  • Nail infections: Due to fungal infection like Athlete’s Foot, the toenail becomes thick and wide. The edges of such a nail can press down on the surrounding tissue causing the in growing of toe nails.

Symptoms:

Severe pain, redness of the skin, swelling and sometimes nail root infection are the common symptoms of the ingrown toenails.

Complications:

This condition may sound simple but if left untreated it can give rise to serious problems especially, if the patient is suffering from Diabetes Mellitus. The nerves can get damaged and the blood flow to the surrounding tissues can diminish to a great extent in a diabetic patient. This can give rise to severe complications like gangrene.

The untreated ingrown toenail can also infect the underlying bone giving rise to severe bone infection. This is called as Osteomyelitis. Ingrown toe nail sometimes can turn into an Abscess.

Treatment:

Depending on the severity of the condition doctor will treat this condition with antibiotics and sometimes with the help of surgery. Surgical treatment includes partial removal of nails, lifting the nails or complete removal of the infected nail and the surrounding tissues.

Preventive measures at home:

  • Soak the feet for about 15 minutes in hot water. This will soften the nail and the surrounding skin.
  • Always cut the nails after soaking them in hot water.
  • Use a clean and sharp nail cutter for cutting the nails.
  • Trim the nails in a straight line across the top. Do not round the corners of the nails.
  • Do not cut the nails too short.
  • If you are suffering from Diabetes Mellitus go for routine foot examination and nail care.

Can homeopathic medicine help in the treatment of Ingrown Toenails?

Although, this is a surgical condition, treatment with homeopathic medicines in initial stages of Ingrown Toenails yields very good results. Homeopathic medicines can very well control the pain and the swelling of the nail bed and surrounding tissues.

Homeopathic medicines like Ruta, Silica, Natrum Muriaticum and Hypericum are found to be useful in treating ingrown toenails. For better results, patients must follow above shown preventive measures along with the homeopathic drugs.

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