Ingrown nail and its treatment

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Ingrown nail, i.e., growing of the nail into the skin, is a common and painful event that occurs on both the fingers and the toes. Tight shoes and socks are the most common cause of ingrown toenail. Ingrown nail may lead to nail infection in the worst case. To understand the cause of ingrown nail, please contact Remote Derm.

Nails are made of a protein called keratin and are formed when compressed layers of keratinized cells reach the finger surface.

The lines on and beneath the nail plate match; this alignment retains the nail plate on its nail bed. Any change in the nail shape disrupts the connection between the nail lines and its bed, causing the growth of the nail into the surrounding skin. This problem is called ingrown nail, the reasons of which are:

  • Injury
  • Fungal infection
  • Very fast or very slow growth of nails
  • Irregular nail trimming, for example when one corner is sharp
  • Nail biting

Treatment of ingrown nail

ingrown nail examples
ingrown nail examples
ingrown nail examples

Ingrown nail can be treated at home if the affected person does not suffer from diabetes or other special medical conditions. Treatment is simple and includes the following steps:

  • Use hot water compress on the affected finger or toe or put it in hot soapy water for 10-20 minutes at least twice a day.
  • Use antifungal or antibiotic ointment
  • Cover the infected area with a sterile bandage

If the ingrown nail becomes infected in the form of swelling and abscess, the dermatologists may recommend one of the following treatments:

  1. Reducing swelling

If the ingrown nail causes swelling and abscess, the doctor should reduce the swelling. The affected finger or toe is locally anesthetized and an incision is made to remove the pus. Further pus can be absorbed using a gauze pad for 1-2 days.

  1. Surgery

Ingrown nail rarely requires surgery, especially in the case of ingrown toenail. But if the problem cannot be resolved through conservative remedies, you should be visited by a general practitioner or a dermatologist. In a common procedure, the doctor removes part of the nail, letting the infected area dries and heals. This procedure can be performed in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia. RemoteDerm dermatolgists can provide recommendations through internet to address the affected nail around the clock.

You must see a physician in person when the following symptoms are developed:

  • Worsening pain
  • Redness of the nail tip
  • Extension of inflammation from the main infected site to the other areas
  • Problem in bending the finger joints
  • Fever

For more information and to get help for your skin, hair and nail concerns, visit one of our board certified dermatologists at 24/7.

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