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Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

Ingrown Toenail


Ingrown toenails develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition is congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People whose toes curl, either congenitally or from diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails.

The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.

Treatment and Prevention

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. In many cases, people with uninfected ingrown toenails can obtain relief with the following simple regimen:

  1. Soak the feet in warm salt water
  2. Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel
  3. Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area
  4. Bandage the toe

If excessive inflammation, swelling, pain or discharge is present, the toenail probably is infected and should be treated by a physician. An Orthopaedic Surgeon can trim or remove the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure. He can remove the offending portion of the nail or overgrown skin with a scalpel and treat the infection. Unless, the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and wear shoes with adequate room for the toes.

Cutting toe nails properly goes a long way toward the prevention of ingrown toenails. Using a safety nail clipper, cut the nails straight across, so that the nail corner is visible. If you cut the nail too short, you are inviting the nail corner to grow into the skin. It is the natural tendency, when the edge of the nail starts to grow in, to cut down at an angle at the nail edge, to relieve the pain. This does relieve the pain temporarily, but it also can start a downward spiral, training the nail to become more and more ingrown.


Fungus Nail

Description of fungus nail

A fungus nail is an unsightly condition. Though minor in nature it can become difficult to cure.

"fungus nail"
Fungus Nail

Extreme end of the nail is most common site for onset of fungus nail. Appearance of white or yellow patches is the characteristic of fungus nail in its beginning stage. Though the fungus nail usually starts towards far end of nail it may progress towards nail base, if left untreated for considerable time. It will also attack the matrix (nail root) and may result in growth of thicker nails and deformation of nail.

Usually, nail of big toe gets affected first with the fungus nail. It may spread to other toenails adjacent to the toenail. In certain severe cases fungus nail can also affect the skin around nails. However, such instances are very rare.

Non-treating of fungus nail condition for prolonged periods may lead to nail becoming brittle.

Causes of fungus nail

Dermatophytes, a type of micro organisms, are considered as main factor that can trigger development of fungus nail. Moist and warm conditions are considered as most suitable environment for these micro organisms. These Dermatophytes grow under nail, in the nail bed, and live off keratin (protein present in nail).

Appearance of fungus nail

Occurrence of yellow or while color patches and yellow horizontal streaks in the nail, are main characteristics of fungus nail during early stages. In the advanced stage the fungus nail may become thicker, discolored, deformed and produce foul smell. In some cases the nail may even split or crumble.

Symptoms of fungus nail

Following are some of the usual symptoms of Fungus Nail.

  • Appearance of white or yellow patches on the nail
  • Brittle nail
  • Deformed or abnormally thicker nail
  • Split nail
  • Appearance of yellow streaks in nail
  • Changes like discoloration, thickness, in one or more than one nails

Prevention of fungus nail

There are certain measures that one should follow for preventing occurrence of fungus nail. Following are some of the important tips that will help you in preventing fungus nail condition.

  • Always keep your feet and nails clean and dry.  Pay special attention towards maintaining dryness especially after bathing, swimming or washing foot.
  • Use cotton socks and anti-fungal powder for absorbing perspiration.
  • Always use foot wear that have broad toe area and thick soles
  • Avoid use of high-heeled foot wear.
  • Never ignore even minor abnormality of foot.  Consult your doctor and get it treated.

Treatment of fungus nail

The treatment depends on the cause of development of fungus nail. Usually, medications like Lamisil and Sporanox are prescribed for treating fungus nails. If the nail is deformed, it may months together, even after infection is treated, for growth of new healthy nail.


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