What is ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenail is a very common condition in Singapore. It occurs when the side or corner of the nail grows and cut into the soft flesh of the toe.
How do I know if I have ingrown toenail?
It causes pain, swelling, redness and sometimes an infection. If your toe is infected you may notice yellowish discharge and sometimes even fever.
What causes ingrown toenail?
- Tight footwear, especially those that presses on the toenail
- Cutting your toenails too short or not cutting your toenails straight across
- Previous injury to your toenails
- Being born with very curved toenails
Is ingrown toenail serious?
Ingrown toenail if left untreated can cause an infection. In healthy individual the infection can be contained by the body’s immune system, or with additional help from oral or topical antibiotics. In people with poor blood flow to the feet (such as those with diabetes or heavy smokers), the infection can spread to involve the whole toe or cause serious infection of the underlying bones.
How can i prevent ingrown toenail ?
- Wear shoes of the right size. Tight footwear may force your growing nails downwards into the flesh.
- Trim your toenails straight across. Remember to leave both edges of the nail alone.
- Keep your toenails at the length of the tip of your toes. Toenails that are too short are easily directed downwards or inwards into your flesh.
- Check your feet regularly if you have diabetes, or any other condition that reduces blood flow to your feet.
- Wear protective footwear, such as steel toed shoes for jobs that may put your toes at risk of injuries
How do I treat ingrown toenail?
- Separate the nail from the underlying flesh. This is done for mild cases of ingrown nail (or those without infection). The doctor or podiatrist will lift the nail edge carefully and place gauze or dental floss below the nail.
- Partially removing the nail . This is done for severe/infected ingrown nail. The doctor will give an injection to numb the toe. After which the doctor will remove part of the nail. The method is less preferred as the nail will grow back after 3 months and there is a chance that the ingrown nail may recur again.
- Partially removing the nail and phenolization of nail matrix. This is done for severe/infected ingrown nail or for those that has failed multiple treatments. In addition to removing part of the nail, the doctor will apply 80% phenol to chemically destroy the base of the nail so that the nail no longer grows back. This method is highly effective and safe to prevent future recurrence of ingrown nail.