Onychocryptosis- Ingrown Nail
Onychocryptosis is the medical term for a common condition you know as ingrown nails. Where a spike or serrated edge of a nail has pierced the skin alongside, causing a painful inflammatory condition. As the skin has been pierced open, the area becomes very susceptible to infection. This condition commonly occurs on the big toe, although other nails can be affected.
When the nail grows into the side, the area may become inflamed. Typical symptoms of inflammation are redness, swelling and pain. Your toe may look shiny and hot, and you may feel a persistent throbbing pain when you put pressure.
As the nail continues to penetrate into the surrounding tissue, the area cannot heal normally. Plus, the opened space increases the risk of infection. When the ingrown nail becomes infected, there will be a discharge of pus from the area, with increased pain. An infected ingrown can quickly cause other conditions such as sepsis if not addressed urgently.
Causes of Ingrown
Aside from improper management of toe nails, such as cutting the nails too short and down the sides; pressure from ill- fitting footwear can increase the risk. Nails that are broader in at the end, curved, or grow in and under, are at higher risk of experiencing onychocryptosis.
Other factor that can precipitate ingrown nails include bad hygiene, stress and hormonal actors. Genetic factors such as toe deformity and large fleshy toes can also increase risk and incidents of ingrown toenails. Habitual factors like toenail picking can predispose nail splinters and delay healing to the nail.
You should pay a visit to the doctor or podiatrist when you experience an ingrown toenail. As podiatrist, we have the proper tools to remove an ingrown nail and smooth out the edges. After we remove the offending nail, we may pack the side of the nail with foam or cotton wool, to maintain an elevation of the nail from the surrounding tissues.
If you ingrown was infected, doctors would usually prescribe antibiotics. Otherwise, you can perform self- care for your toes after treatment.
After your treatment, you should soak your feet in warm salty water to prevent infection. Change dressings regularly, and use antiseptic products such as Betadine, and use a non-adherent sterile dressing around the ingrown until the skin has healed.
Avoid picking on the sore and the nails around it, to avoid getting bacteria onto the lesion. Wear shoes that are wide enough for the toes, so that the toes are not squeezed together and cause more pain.