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Definition of Ingrown Nail
Ingrown Nail – a toenail, or less commonly a fingernail, that grows beneath the surrounding skin. An ingrown nail, also called onychocryptosis, is painful and easily become infected.
Often the tissue around the nail swells and grows over the nail (hypertrophy), further aggravating the site. Ingrown nails require medical attention and often minor surgery done in the provider’s office.
The provider injects the involved finger or toe with an anesthetic to numb it, then clips the corners of the ingrown nail to release it from the skin and trims away the excess tissue. Typically the doctor then applies a caustic solution, usually an acid preparation, to prevent the portion of nail from regrowing.
Tight-fitting shoes are a common cause of ingrown toenails
The shape of the toes also is a factor, with nails that have a pronounced curve being more likely to grow into the side of the toe. A common but ineffective home remedy for ingrown toenails is to cut a “V” into the top edge of the nail with the presumption that doing so will draw the edges of the nail away from the skin as the nail grows.
The shape of the nail bed determines the growth pattern of the nail, however. The jagged edges that result at the top of the nail from this method present the potential for tears and snags that can separate the nail from the toe, another painful problem.
Ingrown Nail Removal
In some people ingrown nails tend to recur and may require more aggressive treatment such as removal of additional nail or the entire nail. Most people experience permanent relief after a single treatment to remove the edges of the nail. Podiatrists recommend trimming the nails straight across, with a slight margin over the edge of the toe.
People who have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), or other conditions that impair blood circulation to the feet should inspect their feet daily and see a doctor or podiatrist regularly as well as at the first indication of irritation.
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