What is an ingrown fingernail?
An ingrown fingernail is a very painful condition which is due to the nail growing into the lateral nail bed. The digging of the nail into the paronychium causes redness, swelling, and immense pain. In some cases the condition progresses from pain to getting infected and the formation of pus. An ingrowing nail is called onychocryptosis. Usually this condition involves the toenail, but it can also affect the fingernails.
Etiology and Causes of an Ingrown Fingernail
It has been observed that the paronychium, which is the nail bed, shows inflammation and swelling. With hyper granulation, the skin becomes swollen to embed the nail into the flesh and thus the nail penetrates into the nail bed causing pain. There are many underlying causes that can lead to an ingrown fingernail.
In some people, it is due to genetic predisposition. But, an Ingrown Fingernail is often associated with other common factors. Some of them are as follows.
1. Improper nail care.
2. Improper cutting of the nail.
3. Cutting the nail too close to the nail bed.
4. Improper shaping of the nail.
5. Trauma or injury to the nail plate or the finger tip.
6. Microbial infection
An ingrown finger nail often occurs when you cut your nail too short, closer to the nail bed. Many people shape their nails in a curved form for beauty. But this can lead to a situation where the nails will pierce the skin.
Signs and Symptoms of An Ingrown Fingernail
● Swelling of the nail bed
● Throbbing pain at the area of affection
● Pain on touch and pressure
● Sometimes you can also have pus formation by the sides of the infected area
Care and Treatment
One of the best ways to care for your nail, especially if you are someone easily prone to an ingrown finger nail, is trimming the nail straight and not curved. This helps to direct the edges away from the paronychium rather than directing it towards the bed. Make sure that you always keep your nails clean.
As a simple home remedy, you can find relief by dipping your affected finger in warm water. 30 minutes of soaking in warm water mixed with Epsom salts helps reduce the inflammation and pain. You can also soak the finger in an anti septic or antibacterial solution. Never press or squeeze your finger. Leave the infected finger alone.
Patting the finger dry and applying coconut or olive oil also helps reduce the pain and swelling. Bandages can also help keep bacteria away. In case of infection, always visit your doctor or podiatrist. In cases of severe infection a complete removal of nail is advised.
Risk factor and Complications
An ingrown fingernail in people with diabetes and in the elderly should take special care to avoid further complications.
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