Ingrown Toe Nails (Onychocryptosis)

An ingrown toenail is a painful, frequently excruciating and often recurring condition, where the nail either embeds itself in the skin on either or both sides of the toenail, or, the skin grows over the edges. Often there will also be infection present causing, swelling, redness and discharge.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails

    There are many causes, but one of the most common is trauma to the toe. This can be caused by:

  • The toe being stepped on or a heavy item being dropped on it.
  • Kicking an item with force, such as a football.
  • Stubbing the toe.
  • Tight fitting shoes/tights/socks
  • This kind of trauma often causes the nail to cut into the surrounding skin, causing a wound. If this has happened, the wound will not be able to heal whilst the offending nail remains in situ.

Other causes are from diseases like Arthritis, where the nails begin to curl inwards. Cutting the toenails incorrectly may also cause them to re-grow into the skin.

Treatment for Ingrown Toenails

Soaking the feet daily in warm water with a cup of salt or sodium bicarbonate will help. Adding essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus oil could also be used for their antibacterial properties. Add approx ten drops to a bowl of water. Soak for approx 20 minutes twice daily if possible. Afterwards, dry the feet thoroughly and apply antiseptic. Leaving the feet exposed to the air is recommended.
If the toe remains painful after a couple of days, treatment from a Foot Health Practitioner, Podiatrist or Chiropodist may be required. Usually classed as a minor procedure, they will be able to remove the part of the nail causing the problem with the treatment carried out in your own home or a local clinic.
You may also require antibiotics from your GP.