Navigating medical procedures can feel daunting, particularly when they are for conditions that affect our everyday comfort. One such condition is the ingrown toenail. But before delving into what to expect for the procedures, let's get a better understanding of this ailment.
What are Ingrown Toenails?
An ingrown toenail is a common and painful foot problem that occurs when your nail cuts into the toe's skin. This usually happens due to improper toenail trimming or the nail's natural curve. A typical ingrown toenail treatment involves partial or complete nail removal, performed under local anaesthesia.
Ingrown toenails can be uncomfortable, particularly when wearing shoes or walking. It begins as the nail grows into the skin, creating a small cut. Without early care, this cut won't heal, leading to potential infection. Consequently, the toe becomes red, inflamed, and in severe cases, may discharge pus.
It's crucial to note that antibiotics or special ointments won't eliminate an infected ingrown toenail since the sharp nail edge remains embedded in the skin. These remedies merely prevent the infection from worsening. Surgical intervention may be necessary, prompting considerations about the cost of ingrown toenail surgery.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
Medically known as onychocryptosis, ingrown toenails are mainly attributed to improper nail care practices and external factors:
Incorrectly trimming toenails too short or rounding the edges
Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes compressing the toes
Trauma to the toenail, like stubbing or injuring it
Poor foot hygiene leading to infections.
Genetic predisposition increasing susceptibility to ingrown toenails.
Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails
The signs indicating an ingrown toenail include:
Pain and tenderness along the toenail edge
Swelling and redness around the affected area
Formation of pus or discharge
Difficulty walking or wearing shoes due to discomfort.
Overgrowth of skin around the nail (hypergranulation tissue)
Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Effective prevention involves proper foot care:
Trim nails straight across, avoiding excessive shortening or curvature.
Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes.
Maintain good foot hygiene.
Refrain from picking at toenails.
Be cautious with DIY treatments and seek professional care if necessary.
Treatment Options for Ingrown Toenails
Early-stage ingrown toenails can be resolved at home without surgery:
Soak the foot in warm water 3-4 times daily.
Keep the foot dry for the remainder of the day.
Wear comfortable shoes allowing space for the toes.
Place soft cotton or waxed dental floss between the toe and skin daily.
If conditions persist or worsen, consult a doctor.
When non-surgical methods fail or for severe cases, surgery may be recommended:
Numbing the toe: Application of numbing medicine to ensure a painless procedure.
Removing the ingrown nail: Surgical removal of the nail section causing pain.
Treating the nail bed: Application of special acid or laser to prevent regrowth.
Dressing the toe: Application of bandages or special material to prevent regrowth.
Recovery: Rest for a day or two, maintain cleanliness, and follow dressing instructions.
Benefits of Ingrown Toenail Care
Seeking professional help for ingrown toenails provides several benefits:
Pain relief and mitigation of infection risks.
Accelerated healing and quicker recovery.
Reduced chances of future complications or surgical needs.
Improved toe condition and guidance for prevention.
The cost of ingrown toenail treatment in Singapore varies based on severity and medical facility, ranging from SGD 100 to SGD 500 or more.
Neglecting an ingrown toenail can lead to severe consequences. As the condition progresses, the pain intensifies, and the risk of infection increases. If you notice discomfort or pain, it's crucial not to delay seeking assistance from a foot specialist for early intervention.