There are situations when the sharp corners of the toenail dig along the border, grow downward and inward into the skin causing redness, pain and swelling. This is termed as the ingrowing toenail. It usually happens with the big toes. As trivial as it may sound, the pain it causes can spoil one’s day, and it needs to be attended to immediately.
More often than not, it is the tight fitting or the high-heeled shoes which exert compression along the big toe, and the pressure causes the nail to grow abnormally. Repetitive injury to the toe either due to sports like football which involves kicking or an acute injury can cause the nail to grow along the wrong line.
Individuals who have been troubled with fungal infections have hardening of the nails and this can make one prone to an ingrown toenail. Last but not the least, it could be hereditary. To start with, there could be pain, redness of the area, slight swelling that makes the area tender to touch.
To make it less vulnerable, the body mechanism causes formation of extra skin and tissue along the nail to bear the brunt, but, at the same time, swelling and tenderness are accentuated.
It is when bacteria finds it convenient and causes a secondary infection that the pain becomes bad due to the accumulation of pus. A boil or abscess forms which may break and drain a fluid filled with pus and blood.
Soaking the toe in warm water will relieve the pain a little along with medication like Belladonna. Later, other homoeopathic medicines like Hepar sulph, Merc sol, Sulph, and Nit ac., help in healing the area. But, to break the tendency of recurrence of ingrowing toenails, Silicea has been found to be effective.
Prevention is better than cure and high-heeled shoes and footwear that are narrow and tight fit should be avoided. But, by far, the best method of prevention is careful clipping of the toenails.
Toenails should be clipped straight across — taking care to keep the end longer than the skin edge.
This prevents the corners from digging into the skin. They should not be rounded or cut too short. Homoeopathy is best suited for the situation to keep the tendency of ingrown toenails away.