An ingrown nail is a nail that curves into the skin. The medical term is onychocryptosis. It may or may not be painful, and may or may not cause infection. An ingrown nail that causes infection or inflammation is called a paronychia. Ingrown toenails that cause inflammation or infection are usually very painful. The picture to the right is a mild ingrown nail with some redness and inflammation.
Trauma, or any damage to the nail or the nail bed can result in ingrown nails.
Microtrauma: Repetitive pressure from shoes. Military cadets in basic training, runners, tennis & soccer players commonly have ingrown toenails.
Blunt trauma: dropping something on your toe or kicking a chair.
Shoes, especially narrow shoes which are too small, place pressure on the big toenail, resulting in repetitive microtrauma.
Fungus causes changes in shape of the nail and the nail bed, sometimes resulting in ingrown toenails.
Genetics: some people are born with nails which naturally turn inat the sides and typically develop ingrown nails very early in life.
A matricectomy starts just like a nail avulsion, with a partial nail removal. After the nail removal, a chemical is placed at the nail root (matrix) to destroy the nail root on one side, and prevent regrowth.
|Area of nail to be removed during the procedure is outlined here.||The nail is removed. Chemical is applied at the base of the nail fold.
||Appearance of toe after nail has been removed.
||Appearance of nail after the area has healed|
Removal of the entire nail is done, both temporarily and permanently, when necessary. Soaking is advised with each treatment. This involves using warm water and epsom salt. You could also use a small amount of betadine. You should soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Also, as a side note: It is not recommended to put on topical antibiotic after these procedures, it will block drainage. But, your physician may dispense a gel to use after the procedure.
A surgical procedure can also be performed, in place of the chemical nail removal. This involves numbing the toe and cutting the nail root out. For ingrown nails which have not responded to the chemical matrixectomy, this may be an appropriate procedure.
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last updated 6/24/10
Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.