Ingrown Toenails


Certain factors contribute to the development of ingrown toenails (which are also known as onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates) and these include:

1. Poorly cut toenails like those which are very short and rounded off

2. Wearing poorly fitting shoes that squeeze the nail plate

3. Injury by stubbing toes while running or kicking

ingrown toenails


Patients present with a swollen and painful toe which may cause difficulties when walking.

The affected toe is red, swollen, painful and it may be discharging pus.



The treatment of ingrown toenails includes:

1. Raising the affected nail corner with a cotton wisp can be done at home for early ingrown toenails. It is done by soaking the affected foot in warm water with an antimicrobial agent to soften the nail and then passing a cotton wisp or dental floss gently under the edge of the ingrown toenail (between the nail and the skin) to raise its edge so that it stops cutting into the toe. This should be followed by the application of an antibiotic ointment like mupirocin.

Ingrown toenail lifters which usually come in ingrown toenail home kits that include toenail lifters, clippers, files and scissors can also be used for the home treatment of ingrown toenails.

This treatment can also be done in the hospital under local anesthesia.


2. Partial removal of the nail with chemical cauterization of the nail matrix entails removal of part of the nail plate either surgically or by laser. This is then followed by destroying the nail matrix by using chemicals like super-saturated phenol or 10% sodium hydroxide 

ingrown toenails


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