If you are dealing with discomfort or pain in one or more of your toenails you may actually be experiencing ingrown toenails, which are also known as unguis incarnatus or onychocrptosis. Whenever there is a sharp corner of a toenail that starts to dig into the skin that is on the side or the end of the toe, there can be inflammation and pain that starts to develop and fester. If left untreated, the area that is inflamed can start to grow excess tissue or even start to throb before draining fluid that is yellowish in color.
In some patients, untreated ingrown toenails can also start to become infected or an abscess can develop that will have to be treated surgically. A condition known as osteomyelitis is a rare, yet real, complication where the bone of the toe will start to become infected. It goes without saying that having the right treatment plan in place for ingrown toenails is going to be the absolute best way to make sure that you do not have a condition that develops into something dangerous.
Ingrown toenails can be rather common in adults and even adolescents, however they are fairly uncommon for younger children and infants. Additionally, this is a condition that is a lot more common for men than women and younger adults that are in either their 20s or their 30s will be mostly at risk.
Treatment options can vary depending on the severity of your ingrown toenails. Once you start to notice irritation or discomfort, you can start off by soaking your affected foot in warm water that is mixes with about a tablespoon or so of Epsom salts. Soaking your foot with the problematic toe for about 10 minutes each day, either once or twice per day, will give some decent relief. If the soaking helps some of the swelling and irritation to go down, you can try to carefully clip the nail back to see if you can remove the portion that is problematic.
However, you must always use clean instruments for trimming your toenails as any bacteria can lead to infection. When trimming your nails, you will always want to keep them neat and make sure that you cut them straight across. Curved toenails can actually make your chances of ingrown toenails a lot higher. When trimming, if the corners end up feeling as though they are too sharp, you can file them down a bit with a quality nail file.
You can also talk with your physician or podiatrist about products that are made to soften up the toenails and keep them free from inflammation. If you are experiencing excessive pain, swelling or even yellowish discharge from your toes, you will want to talk with a professional about having it taken care of. While you are treating your ingrown toenails, you may also want to take a look at the type of footwear that you have as well as the way that you walk and distribute your weight as you are standing as these can all have an impact on the health of your feet and your toes.