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An ingrown toenail (Onychocryptosis) is when a piece of the nail has started to grow into the skin surrounding the nail plate. This piece of nail is often referred to as a nail spicule. An ingrown toenail can be the result of improper nail trimming, narrow-fitting footwear, trauma, foot shape, and nail shape (hereditary). REMEMBER: to avoid ingrown toenails cut your nails straight across, try not to cut or angle downward as you move into the corners.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the ingrown toenail. (Remember preventative medicine is the best medicine). The main treatment goal will be to remove the nail spicule. At Tri-City Foot Clinic, we try to make this as comfortable as possible for the patient. This may mean applying a freezing (local anesthetic). Once the ingrown toenail is removed the next step will be to rid the area of any infection. Prescription antibiotics may be issued. Finally, prevention will be vital to deter a repeat instance. All patients will be educated on knowledge and prevention techniques for ingrown toenails. If the ingrown toenail does continue to reoccur, surgical permanent removal may be required. This procedure is called a Partial Nail Avulsion with Matrixectomy.

Without Treatment
The nail spicule will grow with the nail plate. In the primary stage the spicule may push on the surrounding tissue – this may be the start of the pain sensation. If left untreated, the spicule may puncture the skin and cause a portal of entry for pathogens (germs).  This stage is more of a concern as pathogens can easily enter and cause infection. If an infection is present, the body will initiate an immune response, often presenting as a pus pocket with surrounding inflammation. The toe will now look red, feet hot, appear swollen and be quite painful to touch.
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