Walk a Mile in my Shoes - Toe Woe: Ingrown Nails - April 2012
Ingrown toenails are a common, painful foot problem. Medically called onychocryptosis, an ingrown toenail occurs when the nail, usually on the big toe, punctures the surrounding skin causing inflammation and sometimes infection. If you tend to get them, here are the steps to take.
The main cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming of the nail, made worse by walking, especially if you wear tight or improperly fitting shoes or are very overweight. Trauma to the nail can also contribute to an ingrown toenail, as may swelling in the feet. As you age, your toenails get thicker, making it more difficult to trim them well.
It’s unclear whether the shape of the toenail (an inherited factor), plays a role. Some researchers think the problem may be with the soft tissue around the nail, not the nail itself. One small study found that people with ingrown toenails tend to have thin, flat nails and wide, fleshy soft tissue around them. An excessively curved toenail that naturally curls under at the sides instead of growing flat across, may also be more likely to become ingrown. Another study, however, found no anatomical differences in toenails between those with and without ingrown toenails.
Left untreated, the entire side of the nail can become embedded in the skin, increasing the risk of infection, which, if severe, can spread to the rest of the toe and even the foot. If you have recurrent ingrown nails or worsening pain from one, see your doctor or a podiatrist. If you have diabetes, see a health professional for any foot problem.
Treatment of ingrown toenails may include:
- For mild cases, soak your toe in warm water to soften the nail. Then, if possible, place a small piece of dental floss or cotton under the nail to keep it from cutting the skin. Repeat daily until the nail grows out. Some doctors may attach a small slit tube around the edge of the ingrown nail (a gutter splint). Don’t try to cut out an ingrown toenail yourself.
- For more severe cases, your doctor may cut away part (or all) of the toenail. For recurrent problems, chemicals or other procedures may be used to destroy part of the nail matrix to keep the nail from growing back. This can change the appearance of the nail, however, and there can still be recurrences. Though rarely done, an alternative may be to remove the soft tissue on both sides of the nail, preserving the nail—a procedure that, according to some research, has a low recurrence rate and does not change the way the toe looks.
- Another possible treatment involves filing the nail down to thin and flatten it, thereby reducing its curviness. In a small Turkish study, no recurrences occurred over six months after this treatment.
Keeping things straight
To prevent an ingrown toenail, trim your toenails straight across, with no rounded corners, and not too close. Smooth the edges with an emery board or nail file and clean the grooves at the sides with an “orange stick” manicure tool. If you can’t trim your nails yourself, consider regular visits to a podiatrist (insurance should cover the cost) or professional pedicures. It’s a myth that cutting a “V” in the middle of the toenail will prevent or cure an ingrown toenail. If you’re prone to ingrown toenails, it’s especially important to pay attention to the fit of your footwear, avoiding tight shoes and high heels.
Copyright © 2004- 2011 OKinHealth.com. This article is of the copyright of OK in Health and the author; any reproduction, duplication and transmission of the article are to have prior written approval by OK in Health or the author.
This information and research is intended to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All material in this article is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this newsletter / e-magazine / website. Readers should consult their doctor and other qualified health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided in this newsletter / e-magazine/website are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions. OK in Health is not responsible for the information in these articles or for any content included in this article which is intended as a guide only and should not be used as a substitute to seeking professional advice from either your doctor or a registered specialist for yourself or anyone else.
Connect with Us
|Sense of Smell and Food Choices|
|Did you know that your sense of smell can affect the health of your diet? Smell accounts for 90% of your ability to detect the flavor of food. Those with a decline in the ability to smell often eat foods containing higher amounts of fat and sugar.|
|Wind In The Willow |
|Specialty: Art Therapy|
Cindi Tomochko is a BA./DVATI. Certified Art Therapist and Dru Yoga Instructor and offers classes at the Wind In The Willow Studios in Penticton.
|Acupressure Oil Massage Workshop|
|Date: Oct 29, 2014|
Location: Kelowna & Central Okanagan
Discover how to combine Acupressure points, Shiatsu, and an awareness of the meridians (energy pathways) in a relaxing, balancing & energizing oil massage given on a massage table.
|Mastering The Art of Self-Love |
|Self-love is the most needed vibration on the planet at this time. You probably already know the theory, however, what I have seen most often over the years is the disconnection between knowing the theory and applying (practicing) the art of self-love. It is my intent to offer you some practical steps to do this (yes this is homework) in order to help you more smoothly into the flow of...|
|Jody's Honey Curry Salad|
Description: This recipe is packed with flavour...a great way to get your family addicted to salads! The kids will love the blueberries plus they have such great health benefits for all the family. Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases. The properties of blueberries cross the blood brain barrier to effect these benefits. Antioxidants help to stop the production of free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that impair the cells and the immune system which leads to disease. Anti-oxidants bind the the free electrons in free radicals.