An ingrown toenail is known as unguis incarnates or onychocryptosis. Having an ingrown toenail, no matter how small that portion might be, is a painful condition. It can affect just a small portion of the toe or progress into a large, more complicated portion.
- This condition mostly affects young adults aged 20 to 40. Still, it also affects a large population of those above 50 years old. However, this condition rarely affects those who are below 20 years old, especially infants.
- Any toenail could actually be affected by this condition. However, it is the big toe that is usually affected.
- Most of the time, only one side of the toe is affected but there are also cases when both sides have ingrown parts.
- The ingrown portion would hurt as the nail digs into the toe. If left untreated, the nail will continue to dig into the toe, causing more pain and inflammation on that portion.
- Now, the inflamed area would later grow tissue which also contributes to more pain.
- As the condition progresses, pus or a yellowish liquid may collect on the site.
What are the Reasons for Ingrown Toenails
There are a number of reasons why an ingrown toenail occurs. Some of these causes include:
- Predisposition. This means that the nail is already abnormally shaped so that if it grows, there is a very high likelihood of it digging into the toes.
- The wrong kind of footwear. This is the reason why choosing the right footwear is very important. The toes must have enough room to move. Having a tight toe box will compress the toes so that the hard toenails will dig into the skin of the much softer toes.
- Bad nail care. Nails should be cut straight across, not rounded off the tip.
- Ailment. Sometimes, bacterial infections could cause this problem.
- Trauma. Impact on the toes could cause the nails to dig into the soft tissues next to it. Sometimes, the impact will damage the surrounding tissues so that the nail will grow abnormally on these portions.
Home Remedies to Treat Unguis Incarnates or Ingrown Toenail
To treat this condition, the patient should:
- Try to separate the nail from the toe by cutting the nails. To prevent it from sticking back, a toothpick may be placed as wedge.
- Soak the affected foot in warm water around 4 times a day. It is also a good idea to use Epsom salt.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water twice a day.