Ingrown fingernail is perhaps the most common form of nail diseases that include convex nails or presence of small corns. It is a painful condition in which the edge of the nail grows into the skin and breaks the skin. It occurs in both the nails of the hands and that of the feet. However, the ingrown toe nail is more common than the ingrown finger nail. Ingrown fingernail whether it is the toe or the hand finger, causes immense pain along the margins of the nail. This condition and the pain involved with it will often become unbearable on wearing tight footwear. Also, weight bearing activities like excessive walking aggravates the pain involved with ingrown fingernail as the pressure that is thereby created around the infected nail causes tissue damage or necrosis.
The most common cause for ingrown fingernail is usage of unsuitable footwear or footwear that has inadequate room for the toes. Another reason that may cause this condition, but which is less common is the moisture content in the enclosed shoe. Hence, special care should be taken to keep the feet clean and dry at all times. Care should also be taken while cutting the nails as cutting the nail shorter than the flesh around can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. The fingernails usually grow outward without touching the skin around, but when it comes to the condition of ingrown fingernail, the edges of the nail seem to grow in the direction of the skin and the sharp edges often penetrate the skin. Not clipping the nails properly causes them to grow into the soft tissues of the skin. This causes pain and can also trigger a fungal infection at the site of discomfort.
The common symptoms of ingrown fingernail are redness, swelling and formation of pus or watery discharge along with small quantities of blood. Depending upon the extent of the infection, the treatment may involve some home remedies or even a surgical procedure. In some cases, partial nail removal may also be required. An easy way to soothe the pain caused by an ingrown fingernail is to massage the infected nail with warm olive oil. Olive oil not just reduces the pain but also helps in strengthening the brittle nails thereby promoting proper nail growth. Application of coconut oil and tea tree oil is helpful in case of infections as these natural oils have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities.
While cutting the nails from time to time is a good and a healthy practice, trimming them very short can also cause discomfort. Maintaining a regular nail care regime can help avoid ingrown fingernail and the pain it brings along.
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