An ingrowing toenail is a common problem whereby the side of the nail or splinter of nail grows towards the toe eventually piercing the skin causing a swollen or painful toe.
What are the symptoms?
The skin surrounding the nail edge becomes painful and sometimes inflamed. The skin can grow over the affected nail edge causing (hypertrophy) and difficulty in foot care. You may experience bleeding at the corner of inflammation site, indicating that the skin may have been punctured.
Yellow or white pus at the painful site, indication that an infection may have formed. An injury to the nail or a pre-existing fungal infection in the nail can cause malformation of the nail. Shoes with a narrow or inadequate toe room can force the nail to break through the soft tissues of the skin.
What causes growing toenail?
The condition is caused by subjecting the nail plate to a combination of heat, moisture, trauma, improper nail trimming or persistent pressure that forces the nail inside the soft tissues of the skin.
Stubbing a toe or having one stepped on can cause a piece of the nail to penetrate the skin.
Frequent running can also be a cause, as can playing football as the toes are being subjected to repeated knocks on the inside of the shoe cap which can drive the nail plate into the skin.
Bedridden patients can develop ingrown toenails if the sheets are too tightly tucked in.
Obesity causes the soft tissues to be pressed up around the nail plate which then becomes engulfed.
Involuted nails, where the sides of the nail curve round under the surface of the nail and start to pinch the nail bed beneath can sometimes penetrate the skin.
A pronation abnormality. Pronation or foot movement abnormalities can cause the forefoot to suffer pathological stress which can be detrimental to the nail structures. The condition hallux abducto-valgus causes the pulp of the toe to be pressed on the corners of the nail plate. Hallux valgus or hallux abducto valgus (HAV) is the name used for the deviated position of the big toe.