IMy 16-year-old son has suffered from ingrown toenails on his right foot since he was 10 or 11. I think he’s been in hospital four times now for a procedure. It’s excruciatingly painful and he’s in pain again now. He plays a lot of sports and it affects his ability to run. He’s due to go in for another procedure to remove the ingrown nail in a few weeks but he’s saying now that he wants the whole nail removed. Would this be the best option at this point? He says he feels crippled by this
problem and it’s awful to watch him in pain, but I’m concerned that something as radical as removing the whole nail might be something he’d regret in years to come. NGROWN toenails occur when the edge of the nail grows downwards into the skin surrounding it. This most commonly occurs on the big toes. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which may become infected, red and sore. Ingrown toenails can occur in anyone but are most common in teenagers and older people.
Teenagers’ feet tend to sweat more so the skin may swell and become moist and soft, causing it to split and allowing an ingrown toenail to occur.
In older people nails may become thickened and hard, making them more difficult to cut and causing pressure on the surrounding skin.
Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include redness or inflammation along the side of the nail. There may be pain if there is pressure on this area of the foot. If it’s infected there may be pus or bleeding.
In more severe cases the skin along the side of the nail may be obviously overgrown, covering the side of the nail.
The main cause of ingrown toenails is incorrect nail care. Toenails should be cut straight across. Trying to follow the curve of the toe or cutting nails too short make ingrown toenails more likely. Wearing tight fitting shoes or socks also puts pressure on the skin, pushing it into the nails or it may cause the toenail to curve inwards.
It is important to wash and dry your feet frequently and change socks daily (more frequently if your feet sweat a lot). Poor foot hygiene can cause skin to become moist and boggy and the nail may pierce it more easily.
Infections such as athlete’s foot are also more likely with poor hygiene and this causes moist, boggy skin too.
Other causes include trauma or damage to the nail, and some people have naturally very curved nails.
Treatment depends on the severity. If the nail is mildly ingrown, bathing it daily and applying some cotton wool