Early Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are caused by pressure from the nail's edge into the skin of the toe. Most commonly affecting the large toe, initial symptoms include minor discomfort and inflammation, usually occurring after the nail pierces the skin of the toe. A relatively common condition, ingrown toenails can result from poorly fitted shoes, hereditary and inherited conditions, injury, nail picking, and incorrect nail trimming.
Once the nail has pierced the skin, infection can occur quite quickly, both under the nail, and in surrounding areas. This will be evidenced by swelling, redness, and discharge. In addition, pain will increase, often making it difficult to walk or wear enclosed shoes.
With good foot hygiene, ingrown toenails can sometimes resolve without treatment. Soaking the toe in a warm salt-water solution and elevating the foot to reduce swelling and pain, are sometimes all that is required. However, evidence of infection (coloured discharge), persistent pain and heat radiating from the area are indicators the toe should be examined by your GP or podiatrist. A health care professional should also examine a toe that has had recurring episodes of onychocryptosis.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Being aware of some of the risk factors associated with the development of ingrown toenails can help early detection, as well as allow prevention of symptoms worsening in the early stages. Particular groups – such as those with diabetes, or who suffer from obesity, as well as those who have congenitally deformed toenails or an abnormal gait – need to be especially careful to maintain good foot hygiene. In addition, sufferers of arthrit